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Maghe Sankranti / Makar Sankranti / Maghi / Ghya Chaku Sanu

Maghe Sankranti / Makar Sankranti / Maghi / Ghya Chaku Sanu

Maghe Sankranti / Makar Sankranti / Maghi / Ghya Chaku Sanu Facts

Package: Maghe Sankranti / Makar Sankranti / Maghi / Ghya Chaku Sanu
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Trip Overview

The Maghe Sankranti or Makar Sankranti or Maghi or Ghya Chaku Sanu is the greatest festival of Nepalese Hindu people across the globe. This festival falls on the first day of the holy month Magh in the Lunar Calendar.

This year it is on 15th January in English Calendar

Devotees take early bath or holy dips in the river and ponds nearby. They perform a special puja worshipping on various temples and offer tika to the nearest ones. During the celebration, the female member of the house prepare special delicacies like khichadi, furaula, roti, ghee, yam, chaku and sweets made of sesame and molasses. So, this festival is also known as “Ghyu Chaku Khane Din”.

Tharu people celebrate the day as Maghi. This is the New year for them to celebrate. Early in the morning, they tak a holy bath and worship God Shiva. They put tika on their forehead and take blessings from the elders. They enjoy the delicious meal, wear new cloths and take part in cultural activities.

This festival is also celebrate by the Newar, Magar, Kirat, Rai, Limbu, Sunuwar, Sural, Girel, Thami, Baram, Dhimal community with great importance.

On the day, the sun changes its direction from south to North. So, this day indicates the start of warmer days or longer days and shorter nights.

There are melas (gathering of people) in different parts of the country such as Devghat, Ridi, Baraha Chetra, Banks of some famous river and temples.

Maghe Sankranti is celebrated on the first day of Magh (around mid-January). Nepali people celebrate it as the beginning of the auspicious month of Magh. 

The festival is a harbinger of longer and relatively warmer days in comparison to the cold month of Poush. On this day, the sun is believed to start moving toward the Northern Hemisphere. In that sense, Maghe Sankranti is similar to solstice festivals in other religious traditions.

Hindu devotees during Maghe Sankranti  taking or preparing to take the holy bath at Devghat, Chitwan, Nepal.

Hindus celebrate this festival by taking ritual dip in holy river confluences, most notably in Devghat, Chitwan. Families get together during the day and eat meals together. Sesame seed laddus, molasses, ghee, sweet potatoes and yam are included in the menu. People worship Lord Vishnu during the month by offering him pujas and reading the  sacred Bhagwad Gita, also known as The Song of the Gods.

The first day of Magh is also celebrated in the Terai by the Tharu community as Maghi or New Year. It is a weeklong festival celebrated by getting together as a family and friends, attending community get together or mela, dressing up in the traditional Tharu wear, eating, drinking and making merry

1. CHAAKU

Chaaku is quite famous already. These retreated molasses patties can be obtained in different sizes and are easily distinguishable because of the thick brown colour that it pertains. A lighter variant can also be found which are semi-solid jaggery called Gud, mainly sold during the festival.

2. TILAURI AND TIL KO LADDU

Tilauri, as the name suggests is made from til (sesame seeds) and sugar, formed into a chewy candy. Tilauri has a light colour that separates it from Til ko Laddu which is generally made with a blend of til, gud and sugar and has a darker colour similar to that of chaaku.

3. SAKHAR-KHAND, PIDAALU AND TARUL

Sakar-Khand or Sweet Potatoes are highly popular during this festival and are noticeable in almost all the markets around town. The streets are abuzz and you come across a number of vendors selling sweet potatoes. Similarly, pidaalu (taro roots) and tarul (yam) are also just as popular. While you are more likely to hear the buzz around sakhar and tarul, you will be able to find all three in the market in almost all shapes, sizes and textures.

4. GHEU

Gheu-Chaaku is arguably the most popular phrase you’ll hear in and around this festival, especially if you’re in a Newari community. Gheu is basically clarified butter and goes on and with all the food items that are eaten during this festival.

5. KHICHADI

Focusing on healthy eating on this day of festivities, people partake on khichadi which is a traditional way of cooking rice with black gram daal. Paired with melted gheu-chaaku, it becomes a popular combination while enjoying the feast. Served with traditionally cooked meat, spinach and achaar, it can be considered a typical Nepali khana or meal and is the main course for the day.

Green leaf spinach is also a noted food partaken during this festival. All the food items during the festival focus on healthy eating and are observed for warming up the body, getting good nourishment, and the purification of one’s body.

This festival is believed to bring an end to the ill-omen month of Poush and the day, Magh 1, is also regarded as the coldest day of the year as well as the mark for the start of warmer seasons. The Hindus worship Lord Shiva on the day, offering delicacies like sakhar-khand, tilauri, chaaku tarul and gheu, with the belief that one becomes healthier by consuming such items to mark the occasion.

Maghe Sankranti / Makar Sankranti / Maghi / Ghya Chaku Sanu Itinerary

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