Magh Purnima or Magha Pournami, also known as Maha Maghi, is one of the auspicious Purnima days according to the Hindu calendar. This is the full moon day in the month of Magh (mid-January to Mid-February of the Gregorian calendar). Full moons (Purnimas) and new moons (Amavasyas) have special significance in #Hindu religion. The month of Magh is considered to be sacred because at the commencement of this month the sun sets on its northern path. Magh Purnima also marks the conclusion of Magha month in North India. So the day of the full-moon falling in this month is highly revered by devotees.
This day is venerated in different ways across the country. This is a very auspicious bathing day and is of the same significance as that of karthik purnima. Maghi Purnima is revered as a ‘bathing festival’ across the country.
Many people observe fast and do charity on this day. People offer food, clothes, money to the poor. Libations are offered to ancestors on this day after taking a dip in the rivers. Then Brahmans are fed and given “Daan-Dakshina” according to one’s capacity. Lord Vishnu is worshipped on this day after bath. Like all other purnima days, Satyanarayana Vratham is observed on this day. In some places Goddess Parvati Devi and Bruhaspati (Guru) are worshipped on Maha Maghi day.
It is believed a holy dip in scared Ganga is highly meritorious on this day. It is believed that bathing in the holy river Ganges frees oneself from sins and thus paves the way towards salvation. Thousands of pilgrims visit Prayag (Allahabad) to take a dip at the holy Triveni Sangam -the confluence of the sacred rivers Ganges, Yamuna and the legendary river Saraswati. Every year Magh mela is organized at Sangam in Allahabad during this time.
Grand festivals take place along the banks of the holy rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, Sarayu, Narmada, Tapti, Kaveri, Krishna, Godavari etc. Taking a holy dip on this day in Kumbakonam, Kannyakumari and Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and Pushkar Lake in Rajasthan is also considered to be very meritorious.
This day also has special significance for the Buddhists. It is on this day that Gautama Buddha announced his impending death. Many religious ceremonies are held at the viharas, where prayers are said to the Buddha. The day’s programme began with hoisting of the religious flags atop all monasteries at dawn and chanting of the sacred verses from the Tripitaka.
On the full moon day of Magh, the float festival is celebrated at Madurai in Tamilnadu which is famous for the Meenakshi Temple. A sacred tank, the Mariamman Teppakulam Sarovar is located near Madurai. On this day the highly decorated the images of Meenakshi and Lord Sundareshwara are mounted on floats and are taken to this Sarovar or tank accompaniment by music and devotional songs. Magh Purnima happens to be the birthday of King Tirumala Nayak who built Mariamman Teppakulam which is a few kms to the east of Madurai.