Maghi Festival in Nepal

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When to travel Nepal for festival?

Maghi festival is celebrated on the first day of the Nepali month of Magh (usually around the middle of January). On this special day, the people of the Tharu community celebrate the festival in Nepal.

Tharu people from special tribes take blessings from their elders.

One interesting and lovely thing is that, they donate rice and delicious food to sisters in the family and everybody eats different varieties of food during the entire day of maghi festival in Nepal.

Food containing lots of protein, carbohydrates and vitamins is eaten on this festival of Nepali.

If you are in the Tharu village on maghi festival, you will witness different kinds of songs and dances as well as beautifully & culturally dressed Nepali boys and girls. Family members, who may not have seen each other for a long time, exchange gifts and get, chance to meet each other; this makes the festival, one of the biggest celebrations in this community.

They celebrate Maghi festival for a week in Nepal and the first day of Magh is the main day of the festival.

Introduction of Maghi festival

Maghe sakranti, Maghi or Makkar sankranti are used as synonyms of this festival in Nepal. We celebrate this festival to mark an astronomical phenomenon and start eating winter food. In fact this is our celebration of the winter solstice.

This festival in Nepal is celebrated exactly on the day when days get longer and nights shorter. January 14th is the day of transition when days just turns to be long.

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PIC – Janaki Temple in the region where Maghi festival is celebrated widely

People gather in groups and eat food sharing it in a big family get-together. Married daughters and grown-up sons return to their parents’ house for the festival, so this day can be regarded as a reunion day for the family (though most of the festival in Nepal has a theme of reunion as well).

Apart from that, Maghi festival in Nepal is really interesting with foods, cultural dresses and much more.

People basically eat a lot of root/grounded vegetables such as sweet potato. Maghi festival is also a moment when people donate food to needy people and share cooked foods with neighbors.

This builds harmony among people and is an interesting side of this maghi festival celebration in Nepal. What we eat during the festival Makkar sakranti is very similar to the festivals called Tihar and Dashain, a big festival of Hindu people.

Besides common food of other festivals in Nepal, people in Maghi eats refined butter, chaku, sakhhar khanda, Til ko laddu, sell roti and much more.

People believe that, foods in Maghe sakranti festival in Nepal renew positivity, just like how they start the day with showers.

As this is a beginning of the longer days of the year, thus brightens the mind and refreshes the will power.

You could be interested to know that god-related rituals, ceremonies, and functions in Hindu families officially begin from this day, as we cannot do them before this date, religiously. We use most of the vegetarian food and soup which keeps warm as this day is believed as one of the coldest day in Nepal.

Alcohol in Maghi Festival

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The only possible downside of this day is that you can’t drink alcohol because; if you do, then your fortune will be bad for the entire year. Just be vegetarian; if you eat meat on this day then you will be poor in satisfaction (if not in money or other wealth, is believed).

Today is the day when you need to donate, if someone is asking donate blindly. Don’t ignore them because it might mean bad fortune once again. The fourth thing you need to do is start this day with a cold shower.

If you shower today you will be clean and healthy for the year ahead. Interestingly, you have to shower just with cold water – not hot water.

And don’t sit next to the fire in order to warm, yourself; instead use mustard oil to warm you up like Vaseline does.

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Pic – Tharu dress worn by Tharu girl, Maghi festival is widely celebrated in Nepal but famous among Tharu community

After taking a shower or bath in running water like rivers or under a tap, what you need to do is donate money, warm clothes, or warm bed covers.

Another thing is that, if sun is inferior in your horoscope; offer bronze metallic dishes or coins to the river. And something else that you can do in this specific day is greeting your dad’s foot – and why not, mom’s as well!

These above things are historical beliefs and cultural practices, as this is the day when even gods bathe in the flowing holy rivers like Bagmati, Kankai, Ganga and many others. Have a warm and happy day of maghi, makkar sakranti or maghe sakranti.

How to book this kind of festival participation?

If you have friends in Nepal asks him or ask any of the tour operators. We recommend you stay for a week in the Terai region of Nepal, if you are really looking forward to this fest. The people are very welcoming and they will let you see what they will do.

Accommodation

You can do a home-stay with a typical Tharu family or stay in a hotel.

Food

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This is a festival so you will eat traditional food with your host family and the food will be free of cost, mostly. But you need to be flexible with what they offer.

In Nepal we have a practice of accepting whatever is offered to us as a guest of honor.

Other article about Nepal you might interest to read:

    1. Nepal an intro
    2. Everest base camp info
    3. Kathmandu
    4. Bhaktapur
    5. National parks in Nepal

About Author

I grew up in the mountains & got university education in Kathmandu to become an engineer. But with homely environment of mountains interest me to become a trekking & tour guide, by passion. I have been 6574 meter to the highest & fortunately got chance to explore most of Nepal and bit of abroad.

Eventually, passion converted to profession and here i am on behalf of Nepalgram - a Trekking agency in Nepal.

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