Mauni Amavasya is the last Amavasya before the arrival of Mahashivratri. It is the no moon day, and it is believed that both the sun & moon pass into the Capricorn zodiac on this day. There’re two beliefs as to how the festival got its name. The first is that the word ‘Mauni’ is an adaptation of the Hindi word ‘Muni’ which means sage. The other is that ‘Mauni’ comes from the word ‘Maun’ which means silence. Regardless of which belief is true, the first, second or both, on this day devotees spend their day in silence much like the sages of ancient times, and this practice is called the ‘Maun Vrat’ which is ‘Fast of Silence’. It is a vow taken to be silent throughout the day.
The belief is that silence is often more powerful than our ever-increasing thoughts and worries, and practicing the art of remaining silent helps us connect with our core. It is a time for introspection and inner-peace.
Another traditional practice followed by devotees on Mauni Amavasya is the ‘Mauni Amavasya Snan’.
‘Snan’ means bath, and like the name suggests, on this day people cleanse their bodies with holy water.
This practice of taking a dip in the holy waters is extremely significant for Hindu followers. It is believed that on this festive day the water of the river Ganges turns into pure nectar. Thousands of people are seen at the banks of Ganga in Allahabad, on this auspicious day. Those who are unable to go to the holy river themselves, add a few drops of holy water or Ganga Jal in their bathing water.
The water is said to cleanse the body. Throughout the ‘Magha’ month, all days are ideal for a person to have a bath in holy waters, whether it be on Paush Purnima or any day until Magha Purnima, but it is said that the best day to have these ritual baths is on the Mauni Amavasya, due to the effect of the moon.