By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Paurnamasi-vratas, PaurNamAsi-vratas, Paurnamaasi-vratas
Paurṇamāsi-vratas literally means ‘vratas performed on a paurṇamī or full-moon day’.
This refers to a number of vratas or religious rites performed on a paurṇamī day. Some of them are:
- Āsādhapurnimā - It is generally in June-July. This is also known as Guru- purṇimā or Vyāsapurṇimā. On this day, the yatis or sanyāsins are expected to have a shave and begin their Cāturmāsyavrata, spread over two or four months. During this period they are not expected to shave again.
- Śrāvanapurnimā - It is generally in July-August. On this occasion upākarma has to be performed by the followers of the Ṛgveda and the Yajurveda.
- Bhādrapadapurṇimā - It is in August-Sep-tember. This day is sacred for the performance of nāndīmukha-śrāddha for the gratification of the pitṛs or manes.
- Pausapurnimā - It is in December-January. By bathing the image of Vāsudeva in ghee and by worshiping the gods Viṣṇu, Indra and Bṛhaspati on this day, a person attains prosperity in life.
- Phālgunapurṇimā - It is in February-March. This being the day of the Holi festival, which includes Holikādahana or Kāmadahana, an occasion dear to boys they are allowed to steal firewood for this purpose.
- It is the full-moon day.
- Sanyāsins are called as monks.
- Holikādahana means burning to ashes the ogress Holikā.
- It means burning Kāma or Cupid.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore