Maasi magam is the name of a festival that is celebrated in the temples of Tamil Nadu.
Maham or Magam is the tenth star or constellation in Hindu astrology. In the Tamil month of Maasi (Feb-Mar), this star rises on the day of Pournami or full moon and is considered a very auspicious period.
Maasi magam is thus an annual festival celebrated in the Tamil month of Maasi. But once in twelve years, in addition to the full moon being in conjunction with the magam nakshatram in the month of Maasi, Jupiter enters the sign Leo simultaneously. When this unique alignment of heavenly bodies takes place it is called as Maha Magam and the temple town of Kumbakonam in Tamil nadu is where hundreds of thousands of devotees congregate to take a dip in the ancient Maha Magam tank. It is equal to the Kumbha Mela of North India. This year it was celebrated on Feb 22.
Across Tamil Nadu Maasi Magam utsavam is celebrated in temples and the utsava deities are taken in a procession to nearby holy rivers, seas or lakes for the ritual dip. This auspicious day is a time for spiritual purification. Rituals differ from region to region and even from temple to temple.
Maasi Magam in the Ardhanareeswarar temple in Tiruchengode
The celebration of this festival in Tiruchengode is rather unique.
Hundreds of devotees take part in a procession with pots of milk and other offerings for Lord Ardhanareeswara. Prior to the festival they take a vow of fasting for a prescribed number of days. Men, women and children all take part and observe the vow.
Besides milk, the pots may contain honey, ghee, sugarcane juice, or rice flour for the Maha Abhishekam of ARDHANAREESWARA
The procession itself is a sight to behold!
Devotees come from Tiruchengode, Erode, Namakkal, Paramathi Velur and the villages around Tiruchendode.
They gather together at dawn in the old and very beautiful Badra kali amman temple in Tiruchengode. After offering worship to the goddess the procession makes its way to the main street called as Ther veedhi. Here, folk dancers dressed as Siva and Parvati lead the way. The procession stops frequently for the beautiful dance of Siva and Parvati. After walking through the four ther Veedhis (streets), the devotees go up to the hill temple with their offerings for the Maha Abhishekam of Lord Ardhanareeswara.
Maasi Magam was celebrated on Feb.22, 2016. Here are some photos showing this year’s celebrations.