Somvati Amavasi, or Somavati Amavas, is observed when Amavasi (no moon day) falls on a Monday. The Amavasi in January 4, 2011 is on Tuesday. But the Amavasi begins early in the afternoon of January 3, 2011, Monday and January 3 is marked Somvati Amavasi from afternoon in many Calendars. This Amavasi is the Paush Amavas in most North Indian calendars but in regional calendars in Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh it is the Margashirsh Amavas.
Somavati Amavas is considered a highly auspicious day and millions of people take a holy bath in sacred Rivers like
Ganga and Yamuna on the day. Married men and women also perform different pujas and rituals and also undertake Somavara Amavas Vrat.
The importance of Somvati Amavas was narrated to Yudhishtra by Bhisma in the Mahabharata. It is said that who ever takes a bath in the sacred rivers on the day would be prosperous, free of diseases and would be free from grief and sorrow.
There is also a popular belief the soul of ancestors will rest in peace if children and relatives take a holy dip in the sacred rivers on Somvati Amavas.
Married women take the holy dip for a happy married life and for the long life of their husbands. They also worship the pipal tree on the day.
Somavara Amavasi Vrata (fasting) is observed for a long and happy married life by couples. Many devout Hindus also fast on the day and some people only have a single meal.