KATHMANDU,NEPAL, January 14, (La Prensa Latina): Thousands of people in Nepal on Thursday celebrated the end of winter solstice with Maghe Sankranti, among the most popular Hindu festivals in Nepal, despite the severe Covid-19 crisis in the country. The festival, also known as Maghi or Makar Sankranti, is held every year on January 14 to mark the ascent of the Sun into the northern hemisphere, and its transit through Capricorn, or Makar. "Today (Maghe Sankranti) is considered a holy day to bathe in sacred rivers and lakes to offer thanks to the Sun and wash away sins," Dipendra Adhikari, a Hindu priest in Bhaktapur, located 16 kilometers east of Kathmandu, told EFE.
Although the authorities at Devghat, one of the country's main pilgrimage sites, did not organize the usual celebrations during this festival due to the pandemic, the country's important rivers and other localities witnessed thousands of devotees coming to take part in the celebrations. This year the number of devotees in Devghat fell by 40 percent, after more than 200,000 Hindus gathered at the site last year, Kiran Poudel, an official of the region's Development Committee, told EFE. Meanwhile, President Bidya Devi Bhandari extended her best wishes to all the Nepalese citizens at home and abroad on the occasion of the Maghe Sankranti. "I hope that this festival will help to preserve and promote the original cultural traditions and to further strengthen the broader national unity by enhancing mutual unity, friendship, cooperation and harmony among Nepalis of different geographical regions, castes, languages and cultures," Bhandari said in a message to the people.
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