Ekathshi comes twice in a month according to the Hindu calendar.
It falls on the eleventh day of the waxing moon (Sukul Paksh) and
again on the eleventh day of the waning moon (Krishna Paksh).
very significant for a Hindu, as the observance of rituals connected
with this occasion is said to take away any sin that he or she
may have accumulated during the fortnight. To be able to absolve
oneself from sin every fifteen days is very helpful to the mind,
and, in any case, it focuses the memory on the wrongs done during
that fortnight, thereby acknowledging a wrong bahaviour or deed,
and cleansing one's mind for the future. It is similar to the
Christians going to their priest for 'confession'.
The very religious
observe a fast on both the Ekathshis of the month. The fast regulations
are not very strict as fruit, milk, sweets, tea and coffee are
allowed and anything made of root vegetables can be taken once
in a day. There is no restriction on drinking water at any time.
A full meal (vegetarian) is taken at night. Still, even for the
very religious there is a way out. A visit to the sacred dhaam
(pilgrimage town) of Jagannath Puri in Orissa will absolve one
from keeping the fast. According to folklore, Sri Krishna (who
has his abode in Jagannath Puri during Kal Yug) got fed up with
'Ekathshi' turning up every fifteen days and hung her upside down
and declared that those who saw her in this condition need not
ever keep the vrat (fast) again.