The first day of every month or the date of Nepali 1 is called the Sankranti, or the Sankranti refers to the first day of any month of the Nepali Calendar. The Sun enters from one hemisphere to another hemisphere, so the first day of every month is called Sankranti. Having 12 months, there are 12 hemispheres, so Sankranti is also in 12. All of these 12 Sankranti have their own religious importance. In Nepal, on the occasion, Hinduism used to celebrate this festival. In the Nepali lifestyle, it is also an important festival, which falls in the month of Magh according to Nepali calendar, in Mid-January. So the first day of the Magh month is called the ‘Maghe Sankranti’. The Magh is 10th month in Nepali calendar, The Sun enters from Zodiac hemisphere to Capricorn hemisphere, and therefore Maghe Sankranti is also called the Makar Sankranti. Makar means Capricorn.
In the holy month of Magh, the sun enters the southern hemisphere, and this festival indicates that the coming of warmer weather and beginning the days longer, even it is considered the cold day. In this festival, the first day of the Magh, people take an early bath to purify in the Holy River, sacred river or stream, especially at the place of river confluence and people, throw the coins in the river. People visit the God Vishnu temple and present the flowers, incense and food to him. According to Hindu Mahabharata, King Bhishma, who had the power to choose the time of his death, chooses this day Maghi Sankranti. This propelled the belief that those who die, on this day achieve Moksha. People believe that common disease like fever, cough and cold would not infect the body upon bathing on this particular day in the morning bath. The day homage to various deities and other prayers. They read the Bhagwad Gita (The Holy Scripture) also it is known as the song of the Gods. Many people called a priest to home to conduct a Puja (a religious ceremony), which includes chanting from holy books.
In this day, to avoid the cold, people enjoy with various feasts and foods which helps the heat the bodies, includes laddoos (sesame seed cake), yams or tarul, Chaku (sweet prepared from boiled and hardened molasses), ghee (clarified butter), Khichadi (rice and lentil cooked), sweet potato and spinach and sugar cane paste. All the families and relatives gather together and share this traditional cuisine, share delights. A married daughter comes to their parental home for the festivals.
During this period, people used to go another place to take a bath, in Nepal it includes, Ranighat, Devghat, Karnali, Ridi, Benighat, Ramdi, Bagmati, Panauti, Triveni, Dolalghat etc. Big fare with various shops used to manage for the visitors in those places. Some of Nepalese used to go to take a makar bath in India’s holy places like Kashi, Haridwar, Gangasagar, Rishikesh etc.