What is Maghe Sankranti?
Maghe Sankranti is celebrated on the first day of Magh(Nepali calendar month) which usually occurs in mid of January. The festival is celebrated all over the country. It is considered as the coolest day of winter, the sun is believed to start moving toward the northern hemisphere. The festival indicates commencement of longer and relatively warmer days.
Story behind celebrating Maghe Sankranti
Traditionally, it is believed that Maghe Sakranti has a legend. A business man of Bhadgaun (now Baktapur) was having good sales of sesame but it never got out of stock. While he was cleaning the stock, beneath the seeds he found the idol of Lord Vishnu. From that day, the idol is being worshipped as Til Madhav Idol. It is believed that worshipping lord Vishnu will bring supply of food, prosperity and wealth to Bhakatapur.
In Kathmandu valley, the Newar community celebrate the festival by having rich sweet platter. People eat ghee, Chaku(molasses), sesame laddus, sweet potato, yam which provides instant energy and heat to the body.
Likewise, Tharu community in the terai region celebrates Maghi as New year and one of the biggest celebration. Tharu people also consume alcohol, fish, dhikri (cuisines made from rice floor) and ghonghi water sanils during the Maghi festival.
Hindu people celebrate the festival by taking dip in holy river. Families they get together and have delicacies together. The bath generally made in tribunals (Triveni – the place where three rivers meet).The Sachi Tirtha at Trivenighat (Panauti), Shankhamol, the bank of Bagmati river in Patan, Dolalghat, Baraha Kshetra, Ridi, and other rivers are famous for Sankranti bath. Fun fairs are held in the banks of river in certain places.
Hence, this festival has great significance to the people of Nepal. It welcome summers and longer days also the growth of crops and grains. People enjoy this day by oil massaging their body, sun-basking, rejoice and zeal.