Shani Amavasya is celebrated in honor of Shani Dev - one of the most popular deities that the Hindus pray to ward off evil and remove obstacles. People are under fear of evil from his planet - the Saturn - and anyone born under his influence is believed to at risk. Even the day named after him, Shanivara or Saturday, is sometimes considered inauspicious.
On Shani Amavasya, most people visit Shani temples and also observe a special fast similar to the Shanivar Vrat or Saturday fast. Many devotees, who are under the influence of Saturn in their horoscope, perform rituals like Shani yagna or homam on this day in order to appease Shani and smoothen the rough patches of life.
According to myths, Lord Shani oversees the "dungeons of the human heart and the dangers that lurks there." Stories about his evil influence abound. He is said to have chopped off Ganesha's head... Read more about Shani