Kathmandu, Jan. 14: Hindus across Nepal are observing the Maghe (Makar) Sankranti, Saturday, by taking ritual baths, worshipping the sun god and eating ghee, chaaku (processed molasses), yam and vegetables.
The festival is celebrated on the first day of the 10th month of the Nepali calendar, Magh, with great zeal. On the day, people especially visit the Devghat in Chitwan, Dolalghat in Sindhupalchowk, Baraha Chhetra in Sunsari, Ridi in Gulmi, Trivenighat at Panauti, Kavre, and other rivers across the nation to take ritual baths and pray for the eternal peace of their ancestors’ soul.
The festival is celebrated by eating special food--- ghee and chaaku, teel ladoos (sesame seed ladoos), vegetables and yam. These foods are taken to keep one warm during the chilling winter season.
On this day, married women visit their fathers’ home to celebrate the festival amidst a family gathering.
The indigenous ethnic Tharu community organises a special function to celebrate the Maghi festival in the capital to showcase their culture.
The festival is the biggest among the Tharu community, which also marks the beginning of the New Year of the community. At a special ceremony, food, dresses and handmade and traditional products related to the Tharu community are put on exhibition at the Tundikhel.
With the start of the New Year, the community chooses new village leaders, priests, post-men, guards and house leaders for a period of one year.
The Tharus, one of the ethnic groups of Nepal, are famous for their unique tradition and culture. The Tharus live in 23 different districts of the inner Terai and Terai region, stretching from Jhapa in the east to Kanchanpur in the west.