Maghe Sankranti or Makar Sankranti is being celebrated throughout the country today. It is observed by taking holy dips in rivers and ponds, worshiping at various temples and savouring delicacies like ghee, yam, khichadi and sweets like Chaku and sweets made of sesame and molasses.
As per astrological chart, the Makar Sankranti has special significance- this day onwards the sun starts its ascendancy and enters into the northern hemisphere.
On this day, the sun moves from the tropic of Sagittarius to the tropic of Capricorn. It is believed that the days get longer and nights shorter from today itself. According to ‘Bhabisya Puran’ and ‘Dharma Sindhu’, religious texts, devotees will get special blessings and will have a robust body if they observe the festival as per the rituals.
The Newar community observes the festival by taking ghee, chaku and remembering the departed souls. This festival is called ‘Ghyo Chaku Sallnhu’. The seniors apply mild-hot edible oil to the heads of juniors on this day.
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 Shraddha.
The festival has significance in view of Ayurveda and medical science as well. Food items that are taken on this day are the sources of a balanced diet which increases the immunity power of the human body. On this day, a festival is organized at the Tilmadhav Narayan Temple at Taumadhi Tole, Bhaktapur and puja of Deepakankar Buddha is performed.
The Tharu community observes this festival as the Maghi with much fanfare and gaiety for five consecutive days. Likewise, the people in the Tarai districts mark this day as the festival of bath known as Nahan.