Maghe Sankranti is one of the popular festival of Nepal and India. It is similar to Thanks giving as it is also popularly known as harvesting festival. The festival falls in a mid-winter season of Nepal and India. Maghe Sankranti lies in the 1st day of Magh, 10th month of Nepal, according to Nepali calendar. Literary Maghe Sankranti means “Magh” name of the tenth month of Nepali Calendar and “Sankranti” first day of the month. so It is celebrated first day of the month of Magh. The festival is celebrated to mark the transition of the Sun from Sagittarius to Capricorn during the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere (or the beginning of Uttarayana).
Maghe Sankranti has different names and way of celebration in different parts and by different community like for Kirat it is Chasok Tangnam and for Indians it is Lohri in Punjab, Bihu in Bengal, Uttarayan in Gujrat and Rajasthan, Pongal in Kerala, Sankranti in Karnataka and Tamilnadu, Makar Sankranti in other parts of India and Nepal. But in Nepal it is Chasok Tangnam for Kirat and Maghi for Tharu and for rest of the Nepalis they celebrate it as Maghe Sankranti. It is also known as Gheu Chaku Salhu घ्यःचाकु संल्हु in Newari language.
In Nuwakot, Nepal the festival is also celebrated as Bull fighting. Here is the latest video.
The festival is celebrated by taking dips in the Ganga or any river and offering water to the Sun God. The dip is said to purify the self and bestow punya.One of the greatest Mela is organized on the Barah Chhetra, bank of Holy River. Another greatest Mela is organized on the Shankmul, near to Kathmandu valley.
Special puja is offered as a thanksgiving for good harvest. Since the festival is celebrated in the mid winter, the food prepared for this festival are such that they keep the body warm and give high energy. Specially root vegetables are eaten during this festival, it is said thatyou are what you eat.
Our festivals insist us to eat the fruits and vegetables according to our Seasons and body needs, but these things are never studied. why we eat Banana, beaten rice and yogurt in AShar , dry nuts and many fruits in Tihar festival, and roots in Sankranti, we know Root vegetables are rich in potassium, beta carotene, and other essential vitamins and minerals. Whenever possible, always purchase root vegetables . Laddu of til Sesame Ball made with sugarcane juice is specialty of the festival.
Many Melas or fairs are held on Makar Sankranti the most famous is the Kumbh Mela, held every 12 years at one of four holy locations, namely Haridwar, Prayag (Allahabad), Ujjain and Nashik. The Magh Mela (or mini-Kumbh Mela held annually at Prayag) and the Gangasagar Mela (held at the head of the Ganges River, where it flows into the Bay of Bengal). Makar Sankranti falls on January 14 on non-leap years and on January 15 on leap years. It is the only Hindu festival which is based on the Solar calendar rather than the Lunar calendar.
But Chasok Tangnam falls on a full moon day of the month of Senchengla or the Mangsir month of Nepali calendar it is the most important of Kirat Limbu festivals. This festival. “Tangnam” simply means festival in Limbu language. Expertite Limbus in Hong Kong and United Kingdom also celebrate Chasok Tangnam.
Traditionally, Limbus celebrate Chasok Tangnam festival at home with the first harvest being offered to Yuma Sammang (Limbu Ancestor Goddess) and other deities. They worship and thank the Ancestor Goddess Yuma, God Theba, and other deities for a successful harvest of the year.
Like Limbus other Kirat people are also agrarian. Nature worshipping is the main principle in Kirat religion. Chasok Tangnam developed as a festival among Kirat Limbu people to thank the mother nature for harvest and their ancestors for handing down the teachings of agriculture.
first time published in Jan 14th 2013