Bheema Ammavasi or Bheemana Amavasya Vrata is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Parvati and is observed by women in Karnataka. It takes place on the Amavasi or non moon day in the month of Ashada. Also referred as Jyoti Bheemeshwara Vratam, the ritual is observed for the well being of the male members in the family. In 2011, Bheema Amavasai is on July 30.
How to observe Bheema Ammavasi?
- A pair of mud kalikamba lamps representing Shiva and Parvati or picture of Shiva and Parvati or Silver lamps.
- Dough balls or Kadubus with coins hidden in them (Bhandara).
- Thembittu lamps or traditional lamps
- Turmeric roots
- Yellow thread
- Nombu sacred thread (usually made instantly or bought)
- Local flowers
- Betel leaves
- Betel nuts
- Unbroken coconut
All things needed for the Puja are arranged. There are no strict rules you can always substitute things.
House is cleaned and decorated, especially the Puja area.
Fried things are not prepared on the day.
Preparation for the Puja
Kadubus or dough balls with coins stuffed inside are prepared. Some people hide coins inside idili or kozhakattai. The main idea is to have the ‘bhandara’ hidden with coins.
Make or buy a pair of Kalikamba lamps – it represents Shiva and Parvati and it is worshipped on the day. (Instead of Kali kamba lamps people also use idol or image of Goddess Parvati and Shiva or a pair of silver lamp or a single lamp).
Kalikamba lamps are cleaned and decorated – with sandalwood, turmeric paste or other similar items.
A yellow thread is used to tie turmeric root and it is tied to one of the lamps. This is Goddess Parvati.
Kalikamba lamps is placed on rice or grains in a tray and is placed facing East.
A garland is created using cotton and is used to decorate the Kali kamba lamps.
A sacred turmeric thread or yellow thread is placed in front of both the lamps or tied in the center.
Tie a yellow thread in nine places along with a flower. Keep the tied thread, betel leaves, and betel nuts in front of the lamp. It can also be arranged in a pot.
The normal lamps in the puja room are decorated in the normal way.
One pair of kalikamba lamps and the pooja accessories are used by all the women present. In some cases all participants make there own separate sets.
The Kalikamba lamps are worshipped on the day. An archana with turmeric and kumkum is performed. Any shlokas dedicated to Shiva and Parvati is recited.
Gowri Puja performed chanting the ‘Diva Shri Gowri’ chant. You can also lit the traditional lamps.
Special prayer for the occassion - Shalabaranam kala deepika - maadi; Naaru batti neeru ennai nerudhalu.
Nivedya is offered and it includes coconut, betel leaves, betel nuts, fruits, bananas. An arati using Karpura is performed while offering the Naivedya.
Nombu sacred thread is tied on the right hand wrist.
Breaking of Bhandara or Kadubus
A half-dozen or a couple of coin-stuffed kadubu is placed on a platter and male members in the family are invited. Small kids are asked to smash the kadubu. The kids keep the coin and take the blessings. Elder male members bless the females in the house.
Betel leaves, sweets, fruits are distributed among female friends and relatives.
The mud kalikamba lamps are placed under the tulsi plant or dissolved in water and the water is poured under a plant in the garden.
Married women observe Bheema Ammavasi for nine years after marriage. If they have the kalikamba lamps, it is gifted to a newly married woman or women who are performing the Bheemana Amavasya
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