Magha is the eleventh month in the Tamil lunar calendar and is considered very auspicious for occasions such as marriage, house warming, upanayanam (sacred thread ceremony) etc. Magha month begins during the dawn of the day for heaven. In lunar calendars, Magha is the eleventh month and may commence on either New Moon or Full Moon day. The Full Moon in this month will usually fall in the star cluster ‘Magha’, which gives the name for this month. In solar calendars, the Magha month starts when the Sun enters the sign Capricorn and is the tenth month of the solar year. Magha Snanam It is highly important and beneficial to take holy bath during the month of Magha and the ritual is called as Magha Snanam. It commences from the Pushya Bahula Amavasya and ends on Magha Bahula Amavasya. During this period, it is recommended to take bath before sunrise (Arunodaya) in any river, lake or at home.
There is a significance for taking this early morning bath during Magha month. During this month, the weather will be cold and hence your body becomes weak due to lack of proper sunshine. In the month of Magha, the Sun’s rays provide more heat and energize the water bodies by destroying the bacteria in the water. The common salt in the seawater also acts as an antibiotic and a natural cleanser. Hence, it is advised by our Sages that one must perform 48 minutes (1 Ghadiya) of Samudra Snanam (bathing in sea) during the month of Magha. This bath can help spread Sun’s energy into our bodies and cleanses our external body by opening up the pores. It is highly beneficial to make it as a daily routine.
Festivals during Magha Month
- Vasant Panchami – Also known as Sri Panchami, Saraswati – the Goddess of learning, knowledge and wisdom is believed to have born on this auspicious day. This day is dedicated to the Vaak Devi and is highly propitious for Aksharabhyasa (introducing a child to education). Worshipping Goddess Saraswati on this day can remove ignorance, lethargy and laziness.
- Bhishma Ekadasi – According to mythology, it was on this day that Bhishma, the grand uncle of the Pandavas in the epic Mahabharata, revealed the Vishnu Sahasranama (1000 names of Lord Vishnu) to the five brothers. Bhishma, lying in the bed of arrows revealed the stotras in the presence of Krishna, incarnation of Vishnu. Hence, it is believed that listening to Vishnu Sahasranama on this day can help attain Moksha or salvation.
- Ratha Saptami – ‘Ratha’ means chariot and ‘Saptami’ is the 7th phase of the Moon. The Saptami tithi is attributed to Lord Surya (Sun) and Ratha Saptami is the day on which Sun enters the sign Makara (Capricorn) and move towards the Northern hemisphere. It is believed that on this day, the Sun God rode towards north east on his chariot with seven horses, welcoming the spring season.
- Bhishmashtami – Bhishmashtami is the Shukla Paksha Ashtami (8th Waxing Moon) in the month of Magha, the day after Ratha Saptami. It was on this day, Bhishma had his last breath and left this material earth.
- Sri Madhwa Navami – This is the Shukla Paksha Navami (9th Waxing Moon) in the month of Magha and is associated with Sri Madhwacharya, the founder of Dvaita philosophy. It was on this day that when Madhwacharya was preaching to his students, he got disappeared from a heap of flowers that suddenly showered on him. It is considered as the day he entered the Badarikashrama.
- Magha Purnima – The Full Moon day in the month of Magha is called as Maha Maaghi and marks the end of the Magha Snanam. It is believed that any religious ritual performed on this day shall give immense benefits. Thilapaathra Danam to a Brahmin and taking bath in sea water on this day is considered very beneficial.
- Maha Shivaratri – Maha Shivaratri festival is dedicated to Lord Shiva and occurs on the Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi (14th Waning Moon) of the Magha month. Propitiating Lord Shiva on this day can remove your sins and help attain salvation.