Maghe sankranti (Nepali:माघे सङ्क्रान्ति Nepal Bhasa:घ्यःचाकु संल्हु) is a Nepalese festival observed on the first of Magh in the Bikram Samwat Nepali calendar (about January 14) bringing an end to the ill-omened month of Poush when all religious ceremonies are forbidden. On this day, the sun is believed to leave its southernmost position and begin its northward journey. Maghe Sankranti is similar to solstice festivals in other religious traditions.
Observant Hindus take ritual baths during this festival, notably at auspicious river locations. These include Sankhamul on the Bagmati near Patan; In the Gandaki/Narayani river basin at Triveni near the Indian border, Devghat near Chitwan Valley and Ridi  on the Kaligandaki; and in the Koshi River basin at Dolalghat on the Sun Koshi. Festive foods like laddoo, ghee and sweet potatoes are distributed. The mother of each household wishes good health to all family members.
The legend states that a successful businessman was curious as to why his supply of sesame seed seemed to be never ending. When he inspected the bag he found an idol of Lord Vishnu, the preserver.
According to Mahabharata, king Bhisma, who had the power to control his own death, happened to choose to die on the day of Maghe Sakranti. Therefore it is believed that one to die on this day might achieve Moksha, a release from rebirth cycle.
As per Kirat community this festival is celebrated as a start of a new year which is called Yele Dhung. Based on the historical evidence Kirat calendar was started when King Yalamber conquered Kathmandu valley.
Maaghi is the biggest festival of Tharu Community it is celebrated as the New Year by Tharu Community of Nepal. It is also called Tila Sakrat, Khichara, Makar Sakranti (Maaghe Sakranti) in various places. Maaghi has been declared the National Festival of Nepal. A day before Maagh 1 (Poush 29) Pigs and Boars are cut. People are seen busy buying meats. The booking for a share of meat begins months ahead. On Maagh 1, it is compulsory for all to take a bath in nearest pond or river. After bathing, some rice and lentils are touched, which are later given to sisters and daughters along with some gifts. This is called the "Nishrau". Maaghi is taken as the end of a fiscal year and the beginning of a new one. The year gone by is analyzed and Next year is planned. The responsibility for each member of the family is also assigned on Maaghi. The family members also analyze each other's performance during the year and allowed to discuss each other's mistakes. This discussion cannot take place before the festival. During Maaghi, Bhalmansa/Mahoto (Person who gives justice in the village), Gurwa (Person who performs religious rituals), Chiragi (Night guards) are also selected for the year. This is called "Khojni / Bhojni". Maaghi is also associated with the barbarian system of Kamaiya and Kamlari (Bonded labor system) because the new terms are decided on this day. In this day, different cultural programs and dances were conducted and people share their grief and sorrow by wishing happy maghi.
Maghe Shakranti is also considered the biggest and the special to Magar communities. It’s been celebrated by Magars for generations. There are several ways Magar communities make this festival special and fun. One way is that Magars in the villages grow yam for a year or so and harvest it for this festival. Many Magars in the villages usually harvest yam one day or two before the Maghe Shakranti.
Secondly, Magars welcome their guests with specially made bara, made of black pulse (ground black pulse formed onto burger and deep fry until it gets brown) and village wine (raksi).
Thirdly, Magars wear their traditional clothes and dresses.
Another way to make this festival special is that Magar communities often in the cities organize cultural programs. Various young Magars from many different areas and schools perform singing and dancing which include kauda, jhyaure, jhakri and much more. For more info about Magars: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Maghe_Sankranti&action=edit§ion=1
- Narayan P. Manandhar with Sanjay Manandhar (2002) Plants and People of Nepal. (Portland, Oregon, USA: Timber Press).
- Ridi Bazaar
- Shore, Amanda. "Miss". Trying to find Maghe Sankranti in Kathmandu. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
- http://www.ekantipur.com/the-kathmandu-post/2012/01/15/metro/maghe-sankranti-marked-feasting-on-food-varieties/230436.html retrieved on 14 Jan 2013
Maghe Sakranti is also considered the biggest festival among Magar communities. It’s been celebrated for generations by Magars throughout the country. This day Magars wear their traditional clothing and prepare bara (massko bara) and roti as well as yam (tarul) for the festivities.