KATHMANDU, Jan 15: As the country is fast adapting to multiculturalism, it witnessed various forms of Maghe Sankranti or Maghi celebration this year. And these traditions not only make our society vibrant but also strengthen communal harmony, according to sociologists.
“While Hindus took holy dip and followed other rituals to celebrate the day, Tharus and Magars celebrated the day in their own traditional ways. Acceptance of multiculturalism is a must for communal harmony and public holidays during such days have indeed helped it by ensuring pride of all communities,” said sociologist Krishna Bhattachan.
Talking to Republica, former parliamentarian Shanta Chaudhari said more people are getting to know that Maghi is the greatest festival of Tharus and is related to their identity and dignity. “Due to public holiday and colorful functions organized on the day, more and more people are becoming aware of the Maghi celebration of the Tharus and many aspects related to it. For Tharus, Maghi has social, cultural and even political significance,” she added.
Tharu girls during ´Maghi´ celebrations at Tundikhel. (Photo: Upendra Lamichhane)
Satya Narayan Chaudhari, coordinator of Maghi Mahotsav Main Organizing Committee, said the Maghi celebration at Tundikhel on Monday attracted more visitors compared to last year. “Total footfall this year was above 30,000, compared to around 25,000 of last year,” Chaudhari said, adding that Tharus from 24 districts participated in the festival.
Maghi is also the biggest festival of Magar community and on Monday they celebrated the festival in a similar manner. Sitaram Magar, president of Milijuli Magar Association, said Magars across the country celebrated the day by singing, dancing and dining together. “We created spectacular scene for ourselves and others to see. It became even more exciting this time,” he added.
Meanwhile, sociologist Bhattachan has suggested that the government review its policy on public holidays for festivals.
Local of Taruka VDC Nuwakot sing ´Khaijadi Vajan´ during a program to mark “Maghe Sankranti” at Taruka-Nuwakot on Monday. (Photo: Bijay Rai)
“Multiculturalism should be encouraged, but public holidays on festivals should be made logical,” he said adding: “Some festivals are celebrated for many days. The government, therefore, should allow the communities concerned to decide on which days they want public holiday.”