Dhangadi, January 16
People belonging to the Tharu community in Kailali and Kanchanpur districts are celebrating Maghi festival with much fanfare.
Maghi is the biggest festival of Tharu people, which marks the beginning of new season. The festival is celebrated for a week.
Tharus clean and decorate their houses to welcome their New Year, while also performing Shakiya Naach, a special dance organised during the festival. Various clubs and organisations in the villages have formed teams and organised fairs to celebrate the festival.
Likewise, locals at Banauli, Khukkad, Bauniya, Tharu Home Stay, Bhada among other places of Gadariya in Kailai organised various cultural programmes.
Tharu Welfare Assembly, Kailai former chairman Prabhat Kumar Chaudhary said the locals organised different programmes aiming to preserve their culture. “Tharu people should protect their culture as it is unique,” he added.
Tharus also select the leaders for weddings, farmers and cowherdss, among others, during the festival.
“Earlier, Kamaiyas (bonded labourers) were chosen during the festival, but the tradition has been eradicated of late,” said Ramsarup Chaudhary of Gadariya.
Local Tharu people said other ethnic communities also celebrated the festival with equal enthusiasm. “The festival has strengthened solidarity in the community,” said Nepali Congress Kailali leader Khem Chaudhary.
Tharu leaders said the government should give at least three days’ leave for Maghi as the festival was the New Year of the Tharu community.
A version of this article appears in print on January 17, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.