Maghe Sankranti is being celebrated by bathing, donating, eating, and having fun. Today, ghee, knife, yam, and khichdi are eaten in the holy river and Triveni after bathing, chanting, penance, meditation, and charity. Since these dishes provide warmth in winter, hot dishes are eaten during the cold season. There is also a belief that when sesame oil is massaged on the body.
Devotees bathe in Devghat, Trishuli, Kaligandaki, Bagmati, Indravati, Triveni, Ridi, and other places on the occasion of Maghe Sankranti. There is a religious belief that donating sesame seeds after bathing at the shrine in the morning is as good as donating gold. The government has given a public holiday today on the occasion of the festival.
The Tharu community is celebrating this day as the Maghi festival. Especially in the western Terai, Banke, Bardiya, Dang, Kailali, Kanchanpur, Chitwan, and other Tharu settlements are bright. This festival is celebrated by the Tharu community as the New Year. On the occasion of Maghi, the Tharu community wears Maghauta, Sikhiya, and Hurdanga dances wearing costumes reflecting their culture. However, due to the Corona epidemic, the festival has not been held this year. The Tharu community also selects new leadership to run the village society during the Maghi festival.
An important task in Maghi is to elect the village leader. This work is done by gathering in the house of the village leader, that gathering is called 'Khyal'. The village leader is also called Barghar, Mahatawan, Valmansa, etc. depending on the place. On this day, a new leader is elected and the work done throughout the year is reviewed and a promise is made to work to ensure that the shortcomings of the new year are not repeated. The new leaders pay more attention to how the overall development of the village can be done. They are trying to improve the village.
It is customary to give a gift to one's daughter Cheli after bathing on the day of Maghi. In that gift, five handfuls or three handfuls of rice, salt, pulses, etc. are taken out and given. This is called 'Nisrau'. It plays a role in building relationships between siblings.
Maghi is also called the New Year of the Tharu community. Especially throughout the year, who will have to take or give money. The process of repaying all debts and opening new accounts starts from this day. Other activities, including farming, are also renewed on this day, whether at home or in the village.
Maghi is also considered as a day to deepen the relationship. After bathing in the river, it is customary for everyone from the village elders to the youngest children to bow down and receive blessings. It also unites the village and helps to increase intimacy.
The social sentiment is maximum in the Tharu community. Man is born in society, grows up in society and lives in society, and learns everything in society. So he is a social creature. Being a social being is not a big deal. What matters is how well his behavior plays a beneficial role in society.
The Tharu community is also a community that integrates into society to perform various tasks of social development. If you look at the living conditions of the people of the Tharu community, they are built together and are eager to help each other. The Maghi festival of the Tharu community is also a festival that has played an important role in the development of the entire society including the Tharu community.
Especially the Maghi Tharu community celebrates collectively. Only by making a collective decision do they begin the work. They also discuss how to choose a housewife.
The people of the Tharu community are working collectively, even without knowing it. Which is developing social feelings. Just as the Prime Minister, ministers, and other constitutional bodies are needed to run the country, the Tharu community needs leaders (Badghar, Mahtawan, Valmansa), Chowkidar, Guru (Deshwandhya), etc. to run and develop it. Such actions are taken by the Tharu community according to the discussions and decisions of the people of the community.
In the Maghi festival, decisions are made in all the villages of the Tharu community based on the participation and discussion of the villagers, which develops a sense of cooperation, collaboration, and coordination among the people of the Tharu community. That is, since not making a single decision, everyone's feelings and thoughts are included. It reflects the social significance.
The Tharu community is richer in culture than any other community in Nepal. In Maghi festival, especially fun dances like Maghauta, Jhamra, Hudungwa are danced. As all these songs and dances are performed collectively, it promotes harmony and a spirit of cooperation among the community.
Now, in the 21st century, as the Tharu community is gradually forgetting its art and culture, it seems that the Maghi festival has brought everyone together and enchanted them with such dances and songs. This is very interesting not only for the Tharu community but also for other communities. Therefore, the Maghi festival has helped the Tharu community to be recognized in other national and international communities as well. So it has significance.
If we look at the structure of the Tharu community, we can find the structure of the whole country in this community. In order to run the village, the village leader (Mahatawan) and other officials including the Chowkidar are also elected and are helping each other. In other words, this community seems to have practiced politics in the local villages since time immemorial, although it has not been able to make its place in the basic politics of the country.
The great festival of the Tharu community, Maghi, selects the village leader, Badghar, the head of the household, the housekeeper, the news watchman, the patriotic teacher, the house teacher, etc. It has been prevalent in the village for centuries. The term of these leaders is one year. The leadership team formed by all in the village is passed by consensus. The leader can be a woman, a man, or a person from a non-Muslim community. It is a matter of faith. This is a beautiful aspect of the Tharu community.
The Maghi festival is not only a great festival of the Tharu community but also has many dimensions. It also serves to unite and teach everyone to live together. The Maghi festival is not limited to food and entertainment. It also shows the social, political, religious, and cultural significance. It works to mend broken relationships, turn resentment into happiness, and strengthen new relationships.