Magh month and its significance
Though the entire Magh month of the Hindu calendar is considered sacred and fortunate there are some 'tithies' (dates) which bear special significance. According to Jyotishacharya Pandit Devraj Pandey and Professor in Allahabad University Dr Heramb Chaturvedi, Makar Sankranti which generally falls in the month of Magh is one of the very important period when various rituals are performed by the saints and kalpwasis. The name itself suggests the transit of sun from Sagittarius to Capricorn, they said.
However, Makar Sankranti is preceded by a number of important smaller events. First one is Sankashta Har Ganpati Vrath which falls on the fourth date of the dark fortnight of the Magh month. Usually every Hindu ritual starts with the propitiation of Lord Ganesh the same practice is evident here.
Similarly, the second date of this dark fortnight is important for fasting, bathing and offerings to the priests. The Ekadasi (eleventh date) of this fortnight is also considered significant for fasting, prayers and offerings.
The second most important event of the Magh month is Mauni Amavasya.
Bathing, offerings, prayers and fasting are all considered important on this day as it is believed that the Hindu gods and goddesses descend to take a holy dip at the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati.
The other important date of ritual bath is Sampad Gauri Vrat Snan which falls on the first day of the bright fortnight of Magh. It is done for happiness and fortune.
Similarly, on the third date Goddess Durga is specially prayed and invoked. It is also sometimes referred to as Lalit Vrat or Harkali Vrat where Lord Shiva is worshipped with Goddess Gauri together, it is also referred as Hartritiya Vrat, they added.
Likewise, on the fourth date Til Chaturthi or Shanta Chaturthi or even Uma Chaturthi is observed. The fifth date is meant to worship Lord Vishnu with Goddess Lakshmi. It is believed that the Goddess descended on earth on this date as per the desire of Lord Vishnu. That is why it heralds the beginning of the spring season and known as Basant Panchami. It is the third most important bathing day of Magh.
Similarly, sixth and seventh date are also important for fasting and ritual bath.
The Magh month finally concludes on the full moon day or Purnima when sun enters the Shravan Nakshaktra. On this day Kalpwasis observe fast and perform rituals marking its conclusion.