February 2, 2023, Thursday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

Maghe Sankranti in Nepal

A widely celebrated festival

The Nepal Weekly
January 17, 2023

Maghe Sankranti is one of the major festivals celebrated in the month of Magh (mid-January to mid-February, according to the Bikram Sambat) where Sankranti is the first day of a month. The festival is also known as MakarSankranti as well. It is celebrated in Nepal as the beginning of the auspicious month of Magh. The festival is considered to be the beginning of warmer days. It is believed that from this day the Sun starts to move toward the Northern hemisphere.

Hindu followers take holy baths during this festival in the auspicious and religious rivers in Nepal. Some of the major holy river locations of Nepal are Shankamul on the Bagmati River, Gandaki/Narayani River in the Triveni, Devghat in Chitwan, Ridi on Kaligandaki, and in the Koshi River basin at Dolalghat on the Sunkoshi. People worship Lord Vishnu and organize Pujas, and read Hindu holy epic Bhagavad Gita.

Families get together on the first of Magh and eat meals together. Laddu made of sesame seeds, ghee, sweet potatoes are prepared for this festive occasion.

The Newars celebrate this festival inviting married daughters and close relatives together and enjoy special meals featuring ghee and chaku.

Tharu community, celebrates this festival with huge importance. They call the first of Magh as “Maghi”. The first of Magh is also considered as the beginning of Tharu New Year. Maghi is also the Harvest festival of Tharus and people of Terai. They celebrate Maghi as a joyful time after the heavy fieldwork. They prepare varieties of meals, beverages and meats and celebrate it by gathering their family members and community. The Maghi is the weeklong festival of Tharus. During the festival, they perform their cultural dances, dress up in the traditional Tharu wear, eat and drink with their near ones.

The people from Magar community also celebrate Makar Sankranti with high importance. They invite their married daughters to home for the festivities and even worship. Some delicacies and sweet potatoes are eaten on this auspicious occasion.

Maghe Sankranti festival is celebrated all over the country with great importance. The importance of this day is also described in Hindu epics like Mahabharata. On this day people worship the Sun god, regarded as the symbol of divinity and wisdom. This festival holds a huge religious and historical significance in Nepal.

On the occasion of Maghe Sankranti, devotees gather around the holy rivers and take bath there. The feasts with special meals such as Yam, Khichadi, Butter, Chaku etc. are prepared to share the joy and happiness around. 

Some religious books also inscribe the importance of Maghe Sankranti as per the Hindu traditions. The greatest Mahabharata states that BhismaPitamaha, who has immense power and also got the blessings to have control over his own death, chose to die on this day. So, it is believed that those people who die on this day attain Moksha, liberation from the cycle of birth and rebirth. 

Bullfighting festival in Nuwakot

In Nuwakot, during the month of Magh, a bullfighting festival is organized. Tamed bulls are prepared for fighting and many spectators participate to observe the popular festival of this region in Nuwakot. In this festival, no people are involved in the ground. This is only a bull-and-bull fight. However, provocation out of the field can be seen.