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.

Fasting

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.

Dates

Here are the dates of Ekadashi for the rest of 2019:

DateType of Ekadashi (Moon Phase)
25th Sept 2019Before New Moon
9th Oct 2019Before 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
Ekadashi

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.

Ekadashi Vrat

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.

Significance

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.

Credits to Drik Pan Chang and Wikipedia

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?

Vicky

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