MAGHE SANKRANTI (Nepali:माघे सङ्क्रान्ति, Mathili:माघि, Nepal Bhasa:घ्यःचाकु संल्हु)
On Magh 1st day (around mid-January) Maghe Sankranti is celebrated. It is celebrated by Nepalese people as the beginning of the auspicious Magh month.Also known as’ Makar Sankranti’ or Uttarayana, it is claimed that this day is the coldest day of the year, and celebrated as people hope that the spring season will come soon after that. This festival is observed only by the Hindus of Nepal, and it is celebrated as’ Makar Sankranti’ by a small number of Indian Hindus. The Sun starts northward to’ Makar Rashi’ in this day, according to the calendar.
While celebrated by all Nepalese Hindus, the ‘ Maghe Sankranti ‘ festival is considered a major one for Newars in the Kathmandu Valley, and the Tharu group in the western Terai districts of Kailali, Kanchanpur, Banke, Bardiya, and Dang.It is popular in Newar culture with the name of Ghya chaku sahlu(घ्यःचाकु संल्हु). Ghya means ghee in Newari language, chaku means Molasses and sahlu means sankranti.The Tharu community considers Maghe Sankranti (they prefer to call it’ Maghi’) their greatest festival, and they celebrate it for nearly a week (from Poush’s last days to Magh’s 3rd) by singing and dancing, close to the Tihar’ Deusi’ festival. They prepare a special meal called’ Dhikri’ made from rice flour, and they also have a lot of pig, chicken, boar, or duck liquors and meat.
Tales of Maghe Sankranti
As mentioned in the legends, in Bhadgaun (now Baktapur) there was a merchant, who was doing a good business. He had strong sesame sales but never ran out of stock. He was searching for the hint. He found the Lord Vishnu Idol underneath the seeds by cleaning the stock pile. Then after the idol is decorated as an idol of Til Madhav.It is believed that worshipping the idol would provide Bhakatapur with health, prosperity, and riches. It’s also the day commemorating the death of Viswapitamaha, the elderly grandfather of two Pandavas and Kauravas families, between whom Mahabharat’s famous war was fought. He was determined not to die until it opened up the way to gods land.He learned words of wisdom about life and death while lying on the bed of arrows.