From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

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.[1] Some of them are:

  1. Āsādhapurnimā - It is generally in June-July. This is also known as Guru- purṇimā or Vyāsapurṇimā. On this day, the yatis or sanyāsins[2] 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.
  2. Śrāvanapurnimā - It is generally in July-August. On this occasion upākarma has to be performed by the followers of the Ṛgveda and the Yajurveda.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Phālgunapurṇimā - It is in February-March. This being the day of the Holi festival, which includes Holikādahana[3] or Kāmadahana,[4] an occasion dear to boys they are allowed to steal firewood for this purpose.


  1. It is the full-moon day.
  2. Sanyāsins are called as monks.
  3. Holikādahana means burning to ashes the ogress Holikā.
  4. It means burning Kāma or Cupid.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore