Maghi is the Punjabi name of the festival of Makar Sankranti celebrated by people of Punjab. In Himachal, the festival is known as Magha Ra Saza. Maghi is celebrated on first day of the month of Magh of Sikh and Hindu Calendar, which is January 13th to January 14th. It follows on the heels of the Punjabi Mid-winter festival of Lohri which is marked by bonfires in Punjabi fields and yards. The next morning Punjabis see as an auspicious occasion for ritual bathing in ponds and rivers. Maghi – Lohri is both a Hinduism and a Sikhism holiday in India.
Makar Sankranti (also known as Pongal) is celebrated in other parts of Indian subcontinent by Hindus, and is always on the first day of the month of Magha in Bikrami calendar. On Maghi, when the sun takes its northern journey on entering the sign of Makara or Capricorn, the Hindus take bath in the Ganges or if that is not possible, in some other river, rivulet, canal or pond. It follows the festival of Lohri in north India, particularly popular in the Punjab region.
For Sikhs it is a community gathering to commemorate martyrdom of forty Sikhs (Chalis Mukte) who once had deserted the tenth and last human Guru of Sikhism, Guru Gobind Singh at Anandpur Sahib, but later rejoined the Guru and died while fighting the Mughal Empire army led by Wazir Khan in 1705. Sikhs make a pilgrimage to the site of the war, and take a dip in the sacred water tanks of Muktsar.
A fair (mela) is held at Muktsar Sahib every year and called the Mela Maghi is held in memory of the forty Sikh martyrs. Before this tradition started to commemorate the Sikh martyrs who gave their lives to protect the tenth Guru, the festival was observed and mentioned by Guru Amar Das, the third Guru of Sikhism.