Magha Snan is a sacred bathing ritual during the Hindu month of ‘Magha’. In the Gregorian calendar, it is observed during the months of January-February. This ritualistic bathing ceremony commences on the ‘Purnima’ (full moon day) of the ‘Paush’
month and comes to an end on the day of Maha Shivratri. Hindu devotees perform Magha Snan at the time of sunrise and it is believed to be a highly meritorious, spiritual and sacred act. It is said that by taking a bath everyday during this
auspicious month can free an individual from any dreadful and ghastly sins. Although all the days of the Magha month are suitable for taking a holy dip, there are few days that hold special significance such as Makar Sankranti, Basant Panchami, Maha
Shivratri and Magha Purnima. The observance of Magha Snan at Sangam Prayag in Allahabad is very popular and thousands of devotees gather to perform this bathing ceremony. It is believed that a person who takes a bath at Sangam during the Magha month
attains moksha or salvation.
Devotees get up early and perform Snan at the time of sunrise. Hindus visit important pilgrimages during the time of Magha Snan like Sangam in Allahabad, Haridwar and Rishikesh as it is believed to be 1000 times more rewarding. If one cannot
visit these places, the Magha Snan ritual can also be performed in any lake, pond or river. Taking a holy dip just before sunrise, ‘Arunodaya Kala’ is considered to be very auspicious.
It is believed that giving ‘Aarghya’ to Sun God while performing Magha Snan is very rewarding. Devotees also worship Sun God on this day. It is ritual to donate ‘gur’ (jaggery) and ‘til’ (sesame seeds) to Brahmins. People also lit earthen lamps
in their homes during the entire month of Magha.
Some devotees even observe strict fasting during this period, known as ‘Magha Vrat’. They do not consume a single grain from dusk to dawn. Some staunch devotees also take a vow of silence for few hours after performing the Magha Snan
Devotees must also give donations and charities after taking the Magha Snan. It is meritorious to offer clothes, money and commodities to Brahmins and even to those in need.
In several places, fair is held during the time of Magha Snan. This Magha Snan fair is extremely famous in places like Haridwar, Uttarakhand and Prayag. It is celebrated with great zeal and excitement every year.
In the traditional Hindu calendar, Magha is the 11th month and is considered to be very important for performing Snan, Daan and Yagna and Tarpan. The significance and merits of Magha Snan is found in several Hindu religious texts and puranas like
Brahmanda Purana and Vayu Purana. It is mentioned in these scriptures that by performing the Magha Snan ritual one can get the merits of performing 10,000 Ashwamedha Yagyas. The Snan or bathing ritual does not only cleanse the body, it also purifies
the mind and soul. Hindus believe that performing the Snan ritual in Magha month will free them from their sins and provide salvation.