Ambuvaci is a festival to honor and respect Divine Mother Earth during Her menstrual period. It is celebrated once a year at the temple of Kamakhya Devi. This year Ambuvaci is from June 22nd to June 25th.
There is never a time when the Divine Mother of the Universe is impure, so the idea that the Goddess hides during Her period is a misunderstanding. The period of menstruation is a time when women can become extremely still and silent, and get in touch with the ultimate consciousness of their feminine nature.
In ancient India a woman’s puja consisted of chopping wood, carrying water, preparing the prasad, cooking over a open flamed wood stove, in addition to making offerings at the altar. The Vedic Rishis suggested that women living in a joint family community, have no need for such strenuous activities during their monthly menstrual period, when their sensitive nature will allow them to go deeply inside. This time would be better spent in meditation.
There was no issue of impurity. There was a proscription against strenuous activity in preparing for worship during the time of menstruation. Allowing other family members to participate in the woman’s share of physical responsibilities, created a greater sense of understanding and appreciation for her contributions to the family.
Ambuvaci is the celebration of the Divine Mother’s retreat from the demands of Her devotees, who are constantly beseeching Her for intercession in their lives. For three days She resides in the solitude of Her feminine nature and enjoys the freedom from the concerns for Her children.
For three days we do not disturb the earth, we do not move fire, and the devotees make kirtan and mental worship. The sadhus sit outside Her temple and chant and sing and allow the Divine Mother the privacy of Her solitude.
At the end of the three days the temple is opened, and everyone enjoys darshan and blessings of the Divine Mother. In the Kamakhya Temple a famous piece of red cloth is offered as prasad. It is said to be cloth upon which Divine Mother sits during Her period, and it is highly cherished because it conveys powerful blessings.