In accordance with the Hindu lunar calendar, the festival of Paush Purnima falls on a full moon day, and the very next day marks the beginning of the Magha month. Paush Purnima is a festival that takes place to remind us all of the connection we all have to the universe and between ourselves. It promotes the idea of togetherness amongst ourselves and pushes is to be in sync with one another as well as the nature that pampers us.
On this day, thousands of devotees are seen at the banks of river Ganga & Yamuna, at Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi, Triveni Sangam at Prayag and in Haridwar. Here they take a dip in the holy water, which symbolises the washing away of the sins of our current and pervious live. Amongst other traditions, people pour water in front of Shivlangs, recite chants and donate food to the needy.
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Paush Purnima also marks the beginning of the time for Kalpwas (the period of austerity), which is practiced by various people throughout the month of Magha. Despite cold weather, thousands of devotees throng the Sangam Ghat in Allahabad to live in tents and perform sacred rituals during this time.
Another tradition on Purnima is fasting. This is considered a very sacred and holy act of devotion. People avoid any solid foods or liquid consumption with the exception of nuts, fruits, water and milk. On Paush Purnima, devotees break their fast at the sighting of the moon and worship Lord Vishnu. The day ends with the distribution of Prasad (holy food), this varies from region to region, some distribute ladoos, sheera , kheer etc. It’s the perfect end to a fulfilling day!