One of the popular festivals among Nepalese culture is ‘Maghey Sankranti’ which is celebrated on 1st of Magh. It is also believed to be the coldest day of the year. The people celebrate for the end of the winter and welcome the spring season. According to astrology, it is believed to the transmigration of the sun from one zodiac sign to another.
On this day the Hindus, usually take a holy bath in religious places like Devghat, Dolalghat, BarahaKshetra, etc. The Sachi Tirtha at Trivenighat and other rivers are also famous for the same purpose. Many devotees from India come here for a holy dip. People of Terai region are more likely to celebrate it. People are served with sweet potatoes, ghee, and Chakhu(Molasses like) during the festival.
Although it is celebrated by Hindus, it is celebrated differently by different ethnic groups in Nepal. And, it is considered the big festival in the Newar community. It is also famously known as ‘Ghya chaku sahlu’ which translates to ‘Ghee’ for ghya, ‘molasses’ for chaku and ‘sankranti’ or sahlu. After taking a bath they worship Ajima Mata (goddesses) and Rato Machindranath.
The Tharu community also celebrate this festival as ‘Maghee’. According to their traditions, they make plans for the upcoming year on this day. Each and every responsibilities are divided among the family members . But if anyone is upset with their work, then, this is the date to discuss the case. They are busy making liquors and a variety of cuisine for their family. It is also the New Year Celebration in their community.
The Kirat also Celebrate this day as their New year ‘YeleDhung’. This symbolizes that King Yalambar invaded Kathmandu. And the beginning of his region. In Nuwakot, on this date there is a unique celebration of bullfighting. It is believed that people who die on this day will go to heaven and be reborn.
Origin Of Maghey Sankranti
Once, there was a rich merchant in Bhaktapur who had a good sale of sesame and his stock would never run out. On curious he searched for the clue and while cleaning the pile of stock he found the idol of Lord Vishnu. Later on, it is worshipped as the Til Madhav Idol. It is believed that worshipping the idol bring the supply to food, harmony and wealth to Bhaktapur. It is also the day where Vishwapitama, the elderly grandfather of Pandavas and Kauravas between whom the famous battle fight occurred “Mahabharat”.While lying on the bed of arrow he discovered the word of wisdom about life and death and also believed that people that die on this date go directly to heaven without any suffering of Rebirth.