The Sikh Festivals: Maghi
Maghi is the occassion when Sikhs commemorate the sacrifice of forty Sikhs, who fought for Guru Gobindh Singh Ji.
Maghi, Makara Sankranti, the first day of the month of Magh. The eve of Maghi is the common Indian festival of Lohri when bonfires are lit in Hindu homes to greet the birth of sons in the families and alms are distributed. In the morning, people go out for an early-hour dip in nearby tanks. For Sikhs, Maghi means primarily the festival at Muktsar, a district town of the Punjab, in commemoration of the heroic fight of the Chali Mukte, literally, the Forty Liberated Ones, who laid down their lives warding off an attack by an imperial army marching in pursuit of Guru Gobind Singh.
The action took place near a pool of water, Khidrane di Dhab, on 29 December 1705. The bodies were cremated the following day, the first of Magh (hence the name of the festival), which now falls usually on the 13th of January. Following the custom of the Sikhs to observe their anniversaries of happy and tragic events alike, Maghi is celebrated with end-to-end recital of the Guru Granth Sahib and religious divans in almost all gurdwaras.
The day of Maghi is observed to honour the heroic fight of the Chali Mukte, or the Forty Liberated Ones, who sacrificed their own lives defending an attack by the imperial army marching in pursuit of Guru Gobind Singh. The action took place near a pool of water, Khidrane di Dhab, on 29 December 1705.
Sikhs celebrate the Maghi with an end to end recital of the holy Guru Granth Sahib and religious rituals in all the Sikh Gurudwaras. On the eve of Maghi falls the common Indian festival called the Lohri when bonfires are lighted in Hindu homes and alms are also distributed. . however The largest assembly, however, takes place at Muktsar (Punjab) where big fairs are organized and pilgrims take a holy dip in the sacred waters of sarovar and also visit several shrines. A mahala or big march of pilgrims from the main shrine to gurdwara Tibbi Sahib, sacred to Guru Gobind Singh, concludes the three-day celebration.