Magha Purnima, the Full Moon day in January-February, is a religious festival, when Pious activities are engaged in with specific emphasis on taking bath in the River Ganges.
Maghi, is the month during which the famous Kumbh Mela and the annual Magh Mela takes place at Sangam in Prayag or Allahabad.
Vishwamitra performed the ritual bath during the Kumbh Mela on a Magh Purnima in 2382 BCE. Magh Purnima is an important bathing date during the Kumbh Mela and the Magh Mela.
Magha Purnima 2015- 3 ,February, Tuesday.
Purnima Tithi Begins = 02:31 on 3/Feb/2015
Purnima Tithi Ends = 04:38 on 4/Feb/2015
When Ganga is not accessible, because of any reason, one may bathe in any other holy stream, river, tank or pond, Moreover, Gangajal is kept almost in all the Hindu homes. Some of it may be poured into ordinary well water, and then used for bathing.
On this day a fast is observed and charities are done.
Early in the morning, after ablutions, the dead ancestors are offered libations, and the poor are given dakshina , one which can afford.
Magh Purnima is an auspicious day for performing Sathyanarayna Puja.
Lord Vishnu resides in river Ganga during Magh month and even a touch of this water takes a person to Heaven.
( Brahma vaivartha Purana)
According to other Puranas, Lord Vishnu is impressed by charities on this day
It is believed that Lord Vishnu resides in Kshir Sagar during this month and river Ganga is a form of Kshir Sagar.
A dip in the sea at Kanyakumari and Rameshwaram also has high religious value.
Similarly, a bath in the Pushkar Lake in Rajasthan is also regarded as equally auspicious. In Madras at Kumbakonam, there are shrines of Nageshwara and Sarangpani near which there is a large tank in which devotees can take a dip on this holy day.
It is believed that the water of the sacred Ganga flows into this tank on this auspicious day.
On Magh Purnima, the ‘float’ festival is celebrated at Madurai in Tamil Nadu. On this day, the ornately decorated idols and images of Lord Sundeshwara and Meenakshi are mounted on the floats and are taken to Mariamman Teppakulam Sarovar which is a large sacred tank in Madurai. The procession is accompanied by music and chanting devotional songs.
Magh Purnima is the birthday of King Tirumala Nayak who constructed the Mariamman Teppakulam which is a few kilometres to the East of Madurai. –
There is a special significance of this day in Buddhism as well. It is believed that Gautam Buddha announced his impending death on this day. There are religious ceremonies held at Viharas, prayers are dedicated to the Buddha. Religious flags are hoisted on all the monasteries at dawn and sacred verses are chanted from the Tripitaka. –
According to astrology, Magh Purnima occurs when Moon is in Cancer and Sun is in Capricorn sign.
Taking bath in the Ganges on Magh Purnima relieves a person from all problems related to the Sun and the Moon.