Maghe Sankranti in Nepal
Nepal is a county of festivals. One of the biggest festivals in Nepal is Maghe Sankranti. We celebrate Maghe Sankranti on the first of Magh in the Vikram Sambat calendar (on 14 or 15 January) which brings an end to the winter solstice containing the month of Poush. The date of Maghe Sankranti changes every year as the Sun begins to rise in Makar Rashi.
It is a religious festival in Hindu culture. This festival celebrates welcoming of the longer days by worshipping the Sun. During the festival, the observant take a ritual bath, notably at an auspicious river location. And families get together and have meals together.
Maghe Sankranti reminds us delicious food like Tilaura, Chakku (Molasys), Ghee, Spinich and Yam’s curry which are cooked as special food items of this day. Yam (Tarual in Nepali) and sell roti Fulaura which is made from the wheat, and flour is regarded as a very important food of Maghe Sankranti.
It is believed that eating these food items such as Gheu Chaku (Ghee), Spinich and yam help us become healthier and keep us warm during cold weather. Some people call Maghe Sankranti as the Ghiu Chaku Tarul Eating Day. People belonging to the Tharu community in western Tarai districts celebrate Maghi festival with much fanfare. Maghi is the biggest festival of Tharu people, which marks the community’s New Year and the festival is celebrated for a week.
On this occasion, The Nepal staff also made a plan to celebrate this festival with the participants from all around the world. We arranged special dishes for the festival. At the lunchtime, we met at the dining hall to celebrate Maghe Sankranti. Adding to the celebration, it was the birthday of one of the participants and as usual, we celebrated the birthday of the participant with Nepali Rituals.
Before the celebration, we gave a brief introduction to the festival How, Why, When we celebrate it. During the information session, the kitchen team brought the plates full of special dishes and put them in the table. Everyone was ready for a lifetime experience. We started with the birthday celebration. As seniors, Mr Rajesh and her wife Mrs Bandhana put Tika on the birthday girl’s forehead and gave blessings for long and healthy life.
After the birthday celebration, we started to celebrate the Maghe Sankranti. Rituals were done according to seniority. First, Mrs Bandana got to do the rituals with Mr Rajesh by putting mustard oil on the head and giving a tika blessing and a special dish. It is believed that this oil makes coldness go through the feet. In the same way, all the participants got to do the rituals of the festival.