Masi Magam is a Tamil festival that occurs during the Tamil month of Masi (February – March) on the day when the Purnima (full moon day) aligns with the Magha star. While Masi Magam is celebrated year on year, the festival of Maha Magam comes once in twelve years when the Jupiter transits to the zodiac sign Leo on the Masi Magam day.
Magha star is the birth star of kings and royal personages. When moon comes in alignment with this star on the full moon day of Masi Magam, a heavenly consciousness pervades the entire earth from above. Holy rivers are endowed with more powers on this day and therefore millions of pilgrims gather at the designated places like Kumbakonam (a temple town in Tamilnadu) to take a dip in the sacred wells.
Masi Magam is celebrated in all the temples especially in Tamilnadu. The main deities of temples are taken in a colorful procession accompanied by music to the shores of sea or holy rivers. Often the procession needs to cover several scores of miles by foot which will take a few days. Multitudes of devotees throng at the locations where the idols are brought in palanquins. The idols are given a ceremonial bath (known as Theerthavari) at the designated places with all the devotees gathered also taking a dip along with the deities. Pujas are performed and Prasad is distributed to the participants.