Maghe is a festival which is celebrated by the Nepalese community. It falls on the month of Magh (January), usually early-mid January *14* Magh.It shows the beginning of Magh and also welcomes the longer day (summer) after the cold winter. However, after the festival the day will be one of the last cold nights because the Maghe festival people celebrate as the end of the winter and the beginning of new season (spring season).
The day in which Maghe festival falls called as or believes as the new year of Tharu, community.It is also a custom and tradition of the Nepalese society which comes throughout the year. It is very popular and also the biggest festival of Tharu community.
Celebration of Maghe
Many people sat around the fire until the early morning. Now on the day of Maghe festival (January 14), people woke up before the cock sounded and it’s around 2am or 3am at morning. Women will go to their home around 4am to prepare the special Tharu food and around 6am, they go to river to get a holy Bath or wash themselves with cold pump water, but before getting bath they should throw some coins in the river. This is a belief from generation to generation therefore, now also people are following this belief.
After a cold bath, they return back to their own home then they touch some kind of thing such as, rice, salt, oil, turmeric and many more… They put that things especially rice five times in a bowl called as “Dakiya”. Then the things that are putted in the bowl (Dakiya); the thingsare gifted to the married daughter of the family.It is called “Nisrab” (Gift). Then they let him take blessings from those who are older than him/her. This is called “SEWA” to the Tharu community.
After that people will go to temple to worship and take promise to avoid bad habit and behavior from the day of Maghe. Before a day of Maghi Sakranti They give sacrifice to the God as meat of goats, pigs, sheep and many more. It is called SUWARR Maar Day in Tharu Community. And also the most important thing is that people are not allowed or they should not see blood of animal or they should not kill any animals in that day (Maghe Day).It is also the religious belief of tharu community from generation to generation.
Food items prepared in Maghe festival
During the Maghe festival, women prepare many types of food items. The food items like; Dhikri (steamed bread made from rice flour), Sweet potatoes, laddo,spicy chicken; pig; goat meat and many more varieties… This variety of food is served in a plate made by green leaves. And of course the local brewed rice beer would not be missed during this Maghe festival or occasions.
Characteristics of Maghe Festival
So, in this festival people came together in a unity in a plain or empty ground and celebrate and enjoy themself in the event or occasion or this festival. As I told that people will go to temple to give sacrifice to god, Most of the people go to that temple to celebrate, to worship and also to promises.
Around 4 or 5 days, there would be an annual fair in the village. Many traders came to sell the varieties of foods different kinds of things like, toys, clothes, sweets and many more… Men and boys have their own type of game like, Cards or gambling and many more… Women and men came together in a team and sing and dance in the traditional song with the local brewed rice beer.The names of the dances are Maghauta and also the Sakhiya… We Tharu prefer the dance Maghauta more in the condition of Maghe festival.
In this festival, the new rules and regulation will be made and also elect the leader of the village. The leader will be change in the new year of Tharu community (Maghe). The leader or the Mukiya of the village is called as Badaghar or Valmansha. People choose new leader for themselves to finish their wishes and also to live comfortable life.
Maghe and Kamaiya Pratha
In the Tharu community; There was rule that the Bonded labor (Kamaiya) should work for the richer one or for the farmer in the past. Kamaiya were made or change in the day of Maghee festival. People choose the poor people to be their servant. Kamaiya do not have their own home, they live in a small cave; it is called “Bukra” with a big family behind the farmer home. Kamaiya work very hard to gain and to run their family. But in a year they just get 6 or 7 hundred kilos of paddy or wheat and if they have such a big family and they cannot afford the rice, wheat to the family. So, they again go to farmer to lend them some rice or wheat to survive their family. If he lent 100 kilos then the Kamaiya has to pay 200 kilos due to the farmer had pluses 100 kilos, if the Kamaiya didn’t pay the loan; the loan will be getting higher and higher and also they should work whole life being their servant.At that time it was customary to call that loan “Souki” in the Tharu language.
If the Kamaiya died accidently then his son has to work as Kamaiya for the farmer. Not only the Kamaiya his family has also should face this problem so, the daughters also have to works as a kamlahari before they get married.This event was practiced due to the lack of education, awareness and many more… This evil practiced has also become a problem of poverty etc… and etc…
This was an evil practice in the Tharu community but now it is not in practiced. In 2057 Sawran 2 the government had announced that this Kamaiya practice should be banned so, now every people are living a perfect life in their own way.
So, this is a common and a biggest festival of Tharu community. And from the day of maghe celebration, the new season arise. It means that finally the winter season will vanished and new season will arise (spring season). My mother also prepare many kinds of food items like, Dhikri, boiled sweet potatoes, spicy local chickens and also the meat of pig but no one likes the meat of pig in my family beside me but there is one who likes it very much and that’s me…
As I am also from the Tharu community, I also have to respect and follow the religion. I really enjoy this festival because the relative came together in a family and share their happiness and also the sorrow to each other to be tension free. As I know, Marriage rituals are also very popular in this Magh month (January) and also many more celebration is waiting for us.
The last day of the festival when we wake up, we can finally see the foggy weather with the sun shine. The god has been listening to the prayers.