Maghe Sankranti a bathing festival

Maghe Sankranti is one of the popular festivals in Nepal and India. It is similar to Thanksgiving as it is also popularly known as the harvesting festival. The festival falls in the mid-winter season in Nepal and India.

Maghe Sankranti lies on the 1st day of Magh, the 10th month of Nepal, according to the Nepali calendar. Literary Maghe Sankranti means “Magh” the name of the tenth month of the Nepali Calendar and “Sankranti” the first day of the month. so It is celebrated on the 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 ways of celebration in different parts and by different communities 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 the rest of the Nepalis, they celebrate it as Maghe Sankranti. It is also known as Gheu Chaku Salhu घ्यःचाकु संल्हु in Newari language.

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, the bank of the Holy River. Another greatest Mela is organized on the Shankmul, near Kathmandu valley.

Special puja is offered as a thanksgiving for a good harvest. Since the festival is celebrated in the mid-winter, the food prepared for this festival is such that they keep the body warm and give high energy. Especially root vegetables are eaten during this festival, it is said that you are what you eat.

Our festivals insist we eat fruits and vegetables according to our Seasons and body needs, but these things are never studied. why do we eat Banana, beaten rice and yogurt in AShar, dry nuts and many fruits in the 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 a 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 that 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 the Nepali calendar it is the most important of Kirat Limbu festivals. This festival. “Tangnam” simply means festival in the Limbu language. Expertise Limbus in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom also celebrates 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 the Kirat religion. Chasok Tangnam developed as a festival among Kirat Limbu people to thank mother nature for harvest and their ancestors for handing down the teachings of agriculture.

first time published on Jan 14th 2013

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