TULASIPUR, DANG — The many Tharu settlements dotting across Dang district are presently immersed in festive mood. The Tharu’s major New Year festival, Maghi, has arrived bringing with it the joy and merriment.
The women are busy cleaning their houses and applying mixture of mud and cow dung on the house floor and fresh paint on the walls. The male members of the family are planning for the food including meat for the Maghi feast. Pork is the main meat item for the Tharus during the Maghi.
More, the women were seen busy preparing plates out of leaves of the Sal tree or the banana plant, and also cooking the roti. Most of the people in the Tharu settlements throughout the district were busy on Sunday preparing for their greatest festival.
Like other women, Bujhauni Chaudhari was busy preparing the ‘dunatapari’ or the leaf plates in her house courtyard. “I am preparing these leaf plates for serving food during the Maghi feast. We need a lot of these as many family members and kith and kin assemble to enjoy a feast comprising home-brewed alcohol, meat and other items.
The festive mood is not only seen in Rajaura settlement at Tulasipur-6, it is equally palpable in other Tharu settlements as well. Kapadadevi Manrakhi Chaudhari of Ghorahi Sub-metropolitan City – 12 was also engrossed in making the dunatapari for the Maghi festival.
“We are busy cooking the various food items required for the Maghi festival for about five days,” said Sarada Chaudhari of Naya Basti, Tulasipur Sub-metropolitan City-12. She was preparing the pickle, roti and other items for the Maghi. She said she would prepare dhikri, another food item, on the day of the festival itself, that is today. Sarada said she has cooked and prepared all the food items and she went out catching fish in the rivers and ponds in the vicinity for preparing various fish items for the festival.
Another feature of the Maghi festival is that the Tharus go out fishing collectively.
“All the youth of the village have come here to catch fish. We have this tradition of collective fishing as part of the Maghi festival. It’s fun catching fish collectively,” said Lila Chaudhari of Tulasipur Sub-metropolitan City-17, who is catching fish in the Babai ruver, with her friends.
‘Jeeta marana dinu’, is another activity tied with the Maghi festival in which the Tharus kill pigs for pork which is the integral part of the Maghi feast. Each and every household is engrossed in the Maghi festive activities, preparing dishes and brewing liquor, which they will enjoy throughout the day and night on Maghi. The larger Maghi feats are usually held in the evening when all family members and community people gather and partake with the accompaniment of singing, dancing and merriment.
The Maghauta dance, especially performed during Mghi is the main attraction. On the day of the Maghi festival, all the people bathe early in the morning in the nearby rivers and brooks. After bathing, the family members come to their house touch pulses, rice grains and salt. They then put tika on the foreheads of the young girls in the family.