Maghe Sankranti is one of the biggest festivals in Nepal, according to the lunisolar Bikram Sambat calendar, it comes on the first day of the Magh month, and according to English Celenber, it comes on or about January 14 every year. It is observed on the same date in India and Nepal.
Maghe Sankranti is also called Sankranti or Poush Sankranti, Maghe Sankranti is also known as Makar Sankranti in some parts of Nepal and India.
Different communities in Nepal celebrate this festival similar to the solstice festival, but a few other communities, like the Tharu community in Nepal, celebrate this day as New Year.
This is one of the biggest festivals for Magar’s, the government has declared that this is a major festival of the Magar community.
This is one of Nepal’s most important festivals for the Madheshi and Tharu people.
On Maghe Sankranti, people in Nepal start a day of celebration by waking up early to have a ritual bath and visiting religious places like Bagmati, Narayani, Devghat, and the Koshi River.
It is believed in the Hindu community that on this particular day, people can wash away their sins and start a fresh new year.
The reason why people from Madesh and Tharuhar celebrate this festival on a fixed date like January 14th is that it is in honor of the deity Surya and follows the solar cycle of the Bikram calendar, unlike the other festival which follows the lunar cycle.
According to Nepali culture, people believe that from the middle of December, an inauspicious phase begins, which brings the phase of transition. So, starting with Maghe Sankranti (14th January), the auspicious phase begins and the inauspicious phase ends.
It is also celebrated to mark the end of the harvesting season, and it is a day of thanksgiving for the good harvest and to welcome the coming of spring. Unlike winter, spring is a season of change and renewal.
It is believed that from this day, warmer and longer days will begin as compared to the nights.
Or from Sankranti Day, it terminates the long winter season and begins the spring season or the new harvest season.
The origin of the name Maghe Sankranti
According to the Pahari context, this festival is named Makar Sankranti because when the sun moves from one zodiac sign into another, that is called Sankranti, and when the sun moves to the Capricorn zodiac sign, that is known as Makara, so that is how this festival got its name as Makar Sankranti.
In some parts of Nepal, meals are not cooked on Maghe Sankranti Day. Instead, during this festival, people eat sweet potatoes, ladoo, and ghee and share these foods with their friends, family, and neighbors.