Maghe sankranti is one of the festival celebrated on first of magh vikram sambat B.S (14 January) to show and end to the cold month of Poush.
From this day it is believed that sun will leave its southern most position and begins its northward journey.
Most of the Hindus take rituals baths during this festival in various rivers in and around Kathmandu. Festive foods are cooked and shared among the family members/ friends. Laddo, ghee, sweets made of sesame seed and sweet potatoes are main foods which are made. The mother of each household wished good health to all the family members.
It is the time of gathering of family members of all generations to get together and exchange greetings to the elders and love to the young ones. There are numerous clans of Gurungs, the members of which are all well known of their bravery in the world war and cultural wealth. Their warm welcome and hsopitality at the Losar celebration weree evident from the plates with sel roti (circle bread) and nepali Pickles along with the famous rice beer which are usually home made.
In big cities, Gurungs come together to celebrate Tamu Losar (Gurung’s New Year) at a common place and rejoice in various cultural processions, feasting and greetings.
In older times, mostly in villages, they gathered in a courtyards to celebrate Losar. In kathmandu, it is celebrated by mass from different places of Nepal in Tundikhel ground. Making the place vibrant with colorful stalls and people wearing traditional dress.
As the Poush month itself marks the end of winter and start of the spring which brings warmness and charm to the festival itself.
Gurung community all across the world celebrate Loshar by organizing different traditional programs and rallies in their traditional attires. This day in Loshar is an opportunity for the foreigner nationals who are traveling to Nepal to witness the cultural aspect of Gurung community.
Gurungs divide time into cycles of 12 years (lohokor), to each year of which a special name is given, which is known as Barga (lho). Losar also heralds the change in ‘Lho’. According to the oriental astrological system, there are 12 lhos–garuda, serpent, horse, sheep, monkey, bird, dog, deer, mouse, cow, tiger and cat. Therefore, each year is marked by a particular animal and they are arranged in a single circle (on paper), closely following the Tibetan calendar with its’ 12 animals. In early days, when there was no calendar system in Nepal, the 12 rotation system was used to calculate peoples’ ages.
Dashain, also known as Bada Dashain or Vijaya Dashami is the largest and longest festival in Nepal, which is celebrated by the Hindus of Nepal or Nepalese origin all over the world. The Dashain festival lasts for full fifteen days, starting in the day of Ghatasthapana (day 1), and ends in the day of Kojagrat Purnima (day 15). The important ones being the first, seventh (Saptami), eighth (Maha Ashtami), ninth (maha nawami), tenth (Vijaya Dashami) and the fifteenth (Kojagrat Purnima), the tenth day is the most important among all, having the special value and actual meaning for the word ‘Dashain’.
The Dashain festival lies in the month of Ashoj or Kartik (usually October). This festival is for the celebration of the victory of the Gods over the wicked Demons. The scriptures mention the example of lord Ram winning over Ravan and killing him, and Goddess Durga winning over the demon Mahisasur. Whatever the stories be, they symbolize the win of good over evil, and give the moral pressure for the people to be good, and that they will be destroyed in the same way as the demons, when they do or try to do the evil deeds. The first nine days of Dashain signify the rigorous battle between the avatars of Goddess Durga, and the Demons, the main of whom was the Mahisasur. The tenth day signify his destruction by killing, and the rest five days are for the celebration of that achievement. Among the newars in kathmandu valley, the festival is known as Mohani (festive joy) which is vastly different in significance and very rich in rituals and culture.
Dashain has the longest public holiday among all festivals in Nepal. All government offices, educational institutions and other offices remain closed during the festival period. This is the festival for all groups and classes of people. In this festival, people especially like to have fiestas, enjoy delicious meals, buy new clothes and decorate their houses. The arrival of Dashan is a golden time for the Businessmen. People also fly the kites, which resemble the freedom, along with the end of the nearly three months long monsoon. Flying kites has been a very important part of celebrating Dashain in the country as it is considered to be one way of reminding god not to send rain anymore. Many of the people also enjoy the long holiday by playing cards, and playing in a horizontal swing, which is usually tied in the branch of a tree. People sacrifice a lot of animals in this festival, most of which are the goats, sheep, chicken or buffaloes. The trend of sacrificing animals however, is changing towards fruits and vegetables, as the animals slaughter is nowhere mentioned in the Hindu scriptures and the animal right activists strongly condemn it.
Day 1 ( Ghatasthapana )
Ghatasthapana is the first day of Bada Dashain. In this day, a male family member plant the jamara in moist sand using barley seeds especially corn seeds. Traditionally as per the rituals outsiders are not allowed to enter or see the place where it is planted. By the tenth day of the festival, the seed will have grown to yellow grass, which is used with tika to bless people with lots of prosperity and happiness.
Day 7 ( Fulpati )
The special essence of festival gets from this day. On this auspicious day, a military parade is organized at Hanuman Dhoka. The Nepal Army, Nepal Police, Civil Service, Band Music and Panchebaja also join the fulpati parade. People clean their houses and decorate their houses with flowers.
Day 8 ( Maha Ashtami )
The festive will be continued as Maha Ashtami. Thousands of goats, sheep, buffaloes, ducks and hens are sacrificed in Goddess Temple almost from every home. In Newar Community, Kuchi Bhoe is prepared in which ritually people should eat two pathi of beaten rice including various types of dishes in a banana leaf.
Day 9 ( Maha Nawami )
The ninth day of the festival is known as Maha Nawami. Once in a year this day, the Taleju Temple gates of basantapur are opened for the general public. Thousands of devotees go and pay respect to the goddess all along the day. This day is also known as Viswakarma day. All the factories, machines including vehicles like motorbikes, cycles, cars and other household things like hammer, books, pens and pencils, etc are worshipped.
Day 10 ( Tika / Vijaya Dashami)
The tenth day of festival is known as Vijaya Dashami or “Tika”. On this auspisous day, tika and jamara (which is sewn in the ghatasthapana) are taken from elders and blessing is received including “Dakshin” (Money). This function continues for four days till the full moon during that period, family and relatives who are apart attend to meet each other and take blessings from the elders. This is the day that helps to keep special bonding between families and relatives so it is celebrated intellectually in the society.