Magh 1 being observed across country by various groups

KATHMANDU: Various ethnic groups across the nation are observing Magh 1, first day of the month of Margashirsha or Poush Shukla Nawami, as per their own customs and traditions, today.

Most Hindu devotees, especially those originating from the hilly areas across the nation, are observing the day as Makar Sankranti, the day from which the sun advances towards the northern hemisphere, making the days longer and indicating a gradual decline of winter. Devotees take a holy dip in rivers and feast on yams, khichadi (a preparation of rice and lentils cooked together) ghyu (clarified butter) and different delicacies.

Today is also a day of getting together for those celebrating the day as relatives, especially daughters, sisters and their families are invited over to the maternal home for a feast.

Likewise, the Newars of the Kathmandu valley and those spread across the country observe Ghya-Chaku Salu, eating ghya (clarified butter), chaku (hardened molasses) and other special food items especially prepared for today. Newari delicacies are the perhaps most sought out after among the diverse array of Nepali cuisines.

Similarly, today also marks Maghi, the Tharu community's New Year, which is, of late, popularly celebrated across various parts of the country including the valley. People take a dip in rivers, receive blessings from elders and feast on various delicacies, among which 'Ghongi' has found way into mainstream food-culture.

Clad in traditional attires, Tharu people organise shows depicting different aspects of their culture on this day.

Additionally, people from Magar community observe the day as Maghey Sankranti, the Chhantyals observe Mhilange Songti while people from Ghale community celebrate Li:La Lhosar today. Similarly, like the Tharus, in the Kirant community, this festival is celebrated as Yele Dhung, the start of a new year.

On the occasion, fairs have commenced at various places in the country, especially at river banks and confluences of holy sites, from the early morning today.