Nepali Hindu community celebrated the auspicious Makar Sankranti festival with fervor across the country on January 15, 2018.
Makara Sankranti, which falls on the first day of the Nepali month of Magh as per the lunar calendar, marks the transition of Sun into the Hindu zodiac sign called Makara (Capricorn), putting an end to winter and welcoming the other seasons of the year followed by summer.
As per the tradition, Nepali Hindus visit various holy shrines and rivers to observe traditional pujas and Makar Snan (holy river bath) at the confluence of major rivers on this auspicious day.
While the confluence of the holy Kali Gandaki and Trishuli rivers in Devghat hold great significance, devotees also take holy dips at various other rivers such as Dolalghat, Devghat, Ridi, Triveni and Baraha Kshetra, among others across the country.
A large number of people from Sunsari, Ilam, Morang, Saptari, Siraha and Jhapa districts and a good number of people from various places of India gathered at Kankai River for Makar Snan, the tradition that is observed every year.
Marking the celebration as the start of New Year, Nepal’s Tharu community people thronged at Kathmandu Valley’s open ground Tundikhel (to commemorate Magha Sankranti, the community’s biggest festival.
Meanwhile, the Newar Community also celebrates the festival as Ghyo Chaku Sanlhu with delicious dishes like ghee, chaku and remembering their beloved and departed souls.
As per the tradition, the elders apply a little amount of oil to the younger ones who then proceed for holy dip in sacred rivers.
It is believed that sharing and eating ghee and chaku, vegetables and yam and sesame seed candy on the festival day adds to healthy life.
Another special delicious item, a mixture of black gram and rice with hot spices and ghee, called Khichadi is also served on this auspicious festival day.
On the occasion, national leaders President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba extended their best wishes to the global Nepali community.
A three-day long fair is being held in Gulmi at the pilgrimage site of Ridi of Ruru area at a place that is a tri-junction of Gulmi, Syangja and Palpa districts.
Meanwhile, another big religious fair has been celebrated in Devghat of Chitwan district with thousands of participants gathering at Devghatdham for taking holy dip and observing the festival rituals.
Tharu community people also gathered at Tundikhel on a larger scale to mark the festival celebrations. Dressed in cultural attire, the community performed various cultural and religious dance shows at the event.
Traditional bullfight is one most famous animal sport event played as part of the Makara Sankranti celebrations across Nepal and India.
Commemorating the start of Magh and holy Sankranti festival, traditional bullfight sport event was held across Nepal on January 15, 2018.
While Magh is also celebrated as the feast of molasses, Nepal’s mountainous district Nuwakot looks at it in a different way.
Marking the start of the Magh, the country observes the annual bullfighting event, a traditional animal sport that dates back to more than 225 years.
“This is the tradition which we (farmers) have continued for years. We have been herding the bulls and the government has been giving allowance to buy the tractors. However, we are not getting any sort of help or aid despite preserving the tradition for long,” says Bhoj Bahadur Bhandari, a participant of this traditional bull sport.
This annual bull taming festival in Nepal is similar to that of the most-famous Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu of India and the Spanish Bullfight.
Apart from being a tradition, this unique bullfighting event is also adding to the promotion of Nepal tourism.