Paush Purnima, also celebrated as Shankambhari Purnima in some parts of India, is one of the most auspicious days in the Hindu calendar. On this sacred day, which falls on the full moon day (prunima tithi) of the Paush month of the Hindu calendar , thousands of devotees take holy bath in rivers, particularly Ganga and Jamuna rivers, because it is considered to be a sacred act, according to Hindu traditions. This year, this auspicious day would fall on January 10 and according to experts, the tentative time at which the Purnima Tithi would begin is 2:34 AM on January 10, 2020 and it will continue till 12:50 AM January 11, 2020.
Paush Purnima: History and significance
During Paush Purnima , Hindu devotees from across the country, if not the world, reach the confluence of the three holy rivers (Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati ) also called the Prayag Sangam to take a holy dip. According to popular beliefs, taking a holy dip in the confluence of the sacred rivers relieves the devotees of all their past sins, including those that he or she might have committed during their past lives or previous births. Such an act is also believed to grant salvation or 'moksha' to the person. Fortunately, Prayag Sangam is not the only place where people can take a holy dip. They can also reap the same benefits if they perform the act in other important places of pilgrimage like Allahabad, Ujjain or Nasik.
Besides a flurry of activities across river banks, special rituals are also performed at important Hindu temples to celebrate this auspicious day. In some parts of India, this is also celebrated as Shakambari or Shankambhari Purnima, where the devotees pay their obeisance to goddess Shakambari, who is an avatar of Goddess Durga. In Chattisgarh, people celebrate the harvest festival 'Charta' on this day.
Rituals followed during Paush Purnima
Taking a holy dip is the most important ritual that devotees have to perform on the day of Paush Purnima. So, most people wake up quite early, some even don't sleep at night, and take a holy dip or bath in a sacred river during sunrise. Besides performing various religious rituals, people also pay their tribute to the rising sun. After taking the holy dip, devotees pay their respect to Lord Shiva and worship the 'Shiv Lingam'.
People also keep a fast called the 'Satyanarayana' vrat to worship Lord Vishnu on this day. During the day, the devotees worshiping Lord Vishu, recite 'Satyanarayana' katha and prepare a special prasad. A flurry of activities are seen keeping the people busy--in Krishna temples, special yatras are organised, recitation and lectures on Ramayana and Bhagwad Gita also take place. It is believed that doing charity on Paush Purnima can help devotees attain moksha or salvation.