Maghe Sankranti, or the first day of the tenth month of the Bikram
Sambat calendar which heralds the onset of warmer weather is a major
secular festival of the Nepalese. Known as Makker Sakranti in other
parts of India, the festival is observed for three days, usually in mid
January. It falls on the fourteenth of January every year. A bathing
festival called Makkar is observed, when people take a dip at the
confluence of the Tista and Rangit.
On this day huge Fairs and melas are held in many places along the
river banks and confluence of rivers. The biggest and most awaited is
the Jorethang Maghe Mela, held in Jorethang in south Sikkim. It has now
become a major event, attracting hordes of locals and tourists. The mela
is said to have evolved from the agricultural fair that was held in
Jorethang for the first time in 1955. Hundreds of stalls selling and
exhibiting various products are put up for the huge number of people who
visit the fair.