KATHMANDU — The Maghe or Makar Sankranti, the first day of the month of Magh in the Lunar calendar, is being observed throughout the country today.
On the occasion, Hindus take holy dips in rivers and ponds, worshiping at various temples and savoring various delicacies like ghee, yam, khichadi and sweets like chaku and sweets made of sesame and molasses.
According to the astrological chart, the Makar Sankranti has a special significance as the sun enters into the northern hemisphere from this day onwards.
On this day, the sun moves from the tropic of Sagittarius to tropic of Capricorn. It is believed that the days get longer from today itself.
According to ‘Bhabisya Puran’ and ‘Dharma Sindhu’, religious texts, the devotees will get special blessings and will have robust the body if they observe the festival as per the rituals.
The Newar Community observe the festival by taking ghee, chaku and remembering the departed souls. This festival is called as ‘Ghyo Chaku Sallnhu’ in Newari language. The seniors apply mild-hot edible oil to heads of juniors on this day.
Similarly, Tharus mark the festival by taking a dip in rivers and receiving blessings from elders. Tharus celebrate the festival as Maghi, beginning of the New Year.
A large number of devotees throng Devghat, Barahchhetra, Ridi, Panauti, Dolalghat and Kankai in Nepal and Prayag and Gangasagar in India to take a holy bath and perform Sharaddha.
The festival has significance in view of Ayurveda and medical science also. Food items that are taken on this day are the sources of balance diet which increase the immunity power of the human body.
On this day, a festival is organized at the Tilmadhav Narayan Temple at Taumadhi Tol, Bhaktapur and Pooja of Deepakankar Buddha is performed.
The government has declared a public holiday to mark the festival today.