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Maghe Sankranti is a Nepalese festival. It celebrates the first day of Magh month yearly according to Bikram Sambat (B.S)-Nepali calendar. Or it is in mid-January as per the Gregorian calendar (this year, it is on January 15, 2023). All the Hindus of Nepal and some Indians celebrate this festival. People also believe this day is the beginning of the new holy season. Also known as ‘Makar Sankranti’, ‘Maghi’ or ‘Uttrayana’, it resembles solstice festivals in other religious traditions.
More overview of the Maghe Sankranti
Although all the Hindus of Nepal celebrate Maghe Sankranti, it is the main festival of the Tharu, Newar and Magar communities.
- Tharu people declare this festival as their new year. They call it Maghi and celebrate for a week-long. It falls on the last days of Poush month to the 3rd of Magh. Their menu contains a special meal for the festival called “Dhikri”, along with meats of pigs, chickens, boars, ducks, and many beverages.
- Newar people call Maghe Sankranti “Ghya Chaku Sahlu” and massage their heads and body with Sesame Oil.
- Magar people also consider this festival one of the major festivals. So, the government has declared this day an annual Magar community festival.
- In the name of Yele Chung as the new year, this festival is celebrated by the Kirant community of Nepal.
- On this certain day, the Hindus take ritual baths in holy river confluences throughout the country. Sankhamul in Bagmati, Gandaki/Narayani at Triveni and Devghat in Chitwan are some of the holy spots. Also, fairs are held where people are seen dancing, singing and enjoying traditional attire.
People prepare festival food on this particular day, especially in every household. They prepare Til Ko Laddu, Sesame Seed Fudge, Chakku (Molasys), and Ghee (clarified butter). Not only these items, but they also prepare Tilauri, Spinach, Tarul (yam), and sweet potatoes, which are very delicious to eat. People believe eating these foods and massaging the head with sesame oil will keep a person warmer and healthier in cold weather. As a result, every family member gathers and celebrates the festival, and mothers bless them with good health.