Some of my friends asked me to write an article about Ekadashi day when I told them about the fast I do then. Hence, today I will make you more familiar with this holiday, somewhat exotic for the Western culture.
What Is Ekadashi
Ekādaśī (ekāhdaśī, “Eleven”), also spelt as Ekādaśi, is the eleventh lunar day (tithi) of each of the two lunar phases which occur in a Hindu calendar month – the Sukla Paksha(the period of the brightening moon also known as the waxing phase) and the Krishna Paksha (the period of the fading moon also known as the waning phase). In other words, Ekadashi is celebrated 4 days before the Full Moon or the New Moon.
Wikipedia states that the timing of each Ekādaśī is according to the position of the moon. The Hindu calendar marks the progression from a full moon to a new moon as divided into fifteen equal arcs. Each arc measures one lunar day called a tithi. The time it takes the moon to traverse a particular distance is the length of that lunar day. Ekādaśī refers to the 11th lunar day, corresponding to a precise phase of the waxing and waning moon. The celestial body will be illuminated either about 75% or 25% on Ekādaśī day.
There are usually 24 Ekādaśīs in a calendar year. Occasionally, there are two extra ones that happen in a leap year. Each of these days is purported to have particular benefits and blessings. They are attained by the performance of specific activities. Fasting is one of them.
In Hinduism and Jainism, this day is considered as a spiritual day and is usually observed by partial fast which spans for three days. Devotees take a single meal in the afternoon a day before the fasting day so that no residual food is found in the stomach on the next day. Then the strict fast on Ekadashi day starts at the sunrise of that day and ends on the next day, also after the sunrise.
You can choose to observe fasting without water, with only water, with only fruits, with one-time latex food according to your will and body power. However, it should be decided before starting the fast.
Eating of all type of grains and cereals are prohibited during Ekadahsi fasting. You are not allowed to consume beans and grains because according to the Hindus and the Jainists they are believed to be contaminated by sin.
Here are the dates of Ekadashi for the rest of 2019:
|Date||Type of Ekadashi (Moon Phase)|
|25th Sept 2019||Before New Moon|
|9th Oct 2019||Before Full Moon|
|24th Oct 2019||Before New Moon|
|8th Nov 2019||Before Full Moon|
|22nd Nov 2019||Before New Moon|
|8th Dec 2019||Before Full Moon|
|22nd Dec 2019||Before New Moon|
and Ekadashi days for 2020: https://www.drikpanchang.com/vrats/ekadashidates.html?year=2020
|Date||Type of Ekadashi (Moon Phase)|
|6th Jan 2020||Before Full Moon|
|20th Jan 2020||Before New Moon|
|5th Feb 2020||Before Full Moon|
|19th Feb 2020||Before New Moon|
|5th March 2020||Before Full Moon|
|6th March 2020||Before Full Moon|
|19th March 2020||Before New Moon|
|4th Apr 2020||Before Full Moon|
|18th Apr 2020||Before New Moon|
|3rd May 2020||Before Full Moon|
|18th May 2020||Before New Moon|
|1st Jun 2020||Before Full Moon|
|2nd Jun 2020||Before Full Moon|
|16th Jun 2020||Before New Moon|
|17th Jun 2020||Before New Moon|
|1st Jul 2020||Before Full Moon|
|16th Jul 2020||Before New Moon|
|30th Jul 2020||Before Full Moon|
|15th Aug 2020||Before New Moon|
|28th Aug 2020||Before Full Moon|
|13th Sep 2020||Before New Moon|
|27th Sept 2020||Before Full Moon|
|12th Oct 2020||Before New Moon|
|13th Oct 2020||Before New Moon|
|26th Oct 2020||Before Full Moon|
|27th Oct 2020||Before Full Moon|
|11th Nov 2020||Before New Moon|
|25th Nov 2020||Before Full Moon|
|10th Dec 2020||Before New Moon|
|11th Dec 2020||Before New Moon|
|25th Dec 2020||Before Full Moon|
Other Important Information
Ekādaśī is different for Vaishnavites and Smarthas. Check by clicking the link above for more information. According to Kala Prakashika, a Jyotish text discussing auspicious times for beginning an activity (“Muhurta”), the Ekādaśī fast is performed on a day which is not touched or ruined by any influence of the tenth lunar day. The cut-off time is 96 minutes before sunrise.
If the tenth day completes just 96 minutes before sunrise, then it is celebrated as Ekādaśī. However, in the case of incomplete at 96 minutes before sunrise, then the Ekādaśī fast is performed on the following day.
It happens that Ekadashi fasting is suggested on two consecutive days. Smartha with family should observe fasting on the first day only. Sanyasis, widows and for those who want Moksha should observe the alternate Ekadashi fasting. Both days are observed by staunch devotees who seek for love and affection of Lord Vishnu.
As you can see in the calendar of Ekadashi days for 202, there are some cases when two consecutive days are celebrated.
It might sound a bit exotic for us in the Western world. However, there is a good point in having a special day every two weeks and if you want, it can be Ekadashi, not necessarily for worshipping Hindu gods, but for increasing general spirituality. You will also have some time of reflection over your life and an opportunity to cleanse your body.
In a Nutshell
Today I have made you familiar with Ekadashi day, worshipped by the Hindu. It is celebrated on the eleventh day after each New Moon and Full Moon when people fast from one to two days. Good luck with finding your own, special day. Maybe Ekadashi?