Magar in Nepal


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge
* From latest Nepal census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.

Introduction / History

Nepal is a small nation located along the southern part of the Himalayas, between India and China. It is home to approximately 300 ethnic groups who speak many different languages and have a wide variety of religious beliefs. Recently, Nepal has been transformed from a monarchy into a parliamentary form of government.

The Magar are one of the oldest known tribes in Nepal; however, their origin is unclear. They are believed to be of Tibetan descent because their language and dances are similar to those within the Tibetan culture. Some of the Magar live in the plains where the Himalayan hills begin. Others occupy the lower hills of the Mahabharat Lekh while a few inhabit the high altitude mountain areas.

There are two major groups of Magar (the Eastern and Western) and which are further divided into a number of clans. The Magar language, which is divided into four groups, gives the people a distinct tribal identity. This linguistic classification is important in understanding the Magar tribes.


What Are Their Lives Like?

Most Magar are craftsmen, although some who own their land have become farmers. Others work as miners, blacksmiths, or basket weavers. They tend to be hard-working, honest, self-reliant, and self-sufficient people. They are very jovial and love to sing and dance. They have several kinds of dances as well as tribal games that they frequently play.

The Eastern Magar typically live in large, two-story stone houses with slate or thatch roofs. The homes are often constructed with large porches in front.

The Eastern Magar have a unique style of dress. Most often, they wear loin cloths and bhotos (shirts with sleeves), or shirts and coats. The women also wear loin cloths called dhotis. They often adorn themselves with fulis (flower-like ear ornaments) in the middle parts of their ears and necklaces made of glass beads and silver Indian coins. Some aspects of western style clothing are slowly becoming more common.

Magar marriages are arranged in a unique fashion. The groom's brother-in-law must go to the bride's family and offer a "bride price" of money and alcohol. If the proposal is accepted, further payments are then made. Marriages to maternal first cousins are the most common arrangements.

The most distinctive element in the Magar family kinship is the strong bond between maternal uncles and their nephews. They treat each other with mutual respect because when the nephew is ready to marry, his bride will be chosen from among his uncle's daughters.

"Life cycle rituals" are a very important part of Magar society. A special birth ceremony is held eleven days after a child is born. The baby is named and then washed for the first time. One festival known as Jyestha Poornima is observed in May or June at the time of the full moon. During the ceremony, freshly harvested grains are offered to the gods.


What Are Their Beliefs?

The great majority of the Magar practice ethnic religions, while the minority are practicing Hindus. Like other Magar groups, Hinduism has greatly influenced the Eastern Magar. Many now worship the three major Hindu gods: Brahma (creator of the universe), Vishnu (protector and preserver of the worlds), and Shiva (the destroyer), as well as a host of other deities.


What Are Their Needs?

The New Testament has been translated into the Eastern Magar language. However, the government of Nepal fiercely opposes any form of evangelism. Penalties against Christians sharing their faith have been harsh. Many believers have spent long periods of time in prison. Perhaps this explains why there are only a few known Eastern Magar believers.

Nepal has long been hidden away and forgotten by most of the world. The government of Nepal is opposed to any form of proselytizing; and so government restrictions apply, but most of the time Christians can follow their religion. There are more problems from family members than from the government.

Intercession is the key to breaking down the strongholds over these tribes and seeing them reached with the Light of the glorious Gospel.


Prayer Points

Pray that the Lord of the harvest will thrust forth laborers into Nepal.
Ask God to give the few Eastern Magar believers opportunities to share the Gospel with their own people.
Pray that the Holy Spirit will open the hearts of Nepal's governmental leaders to the Gospel.
Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Eastern Magar.


Scripture Prayers for the Magar in Nepal.


Profile Source:   Bethany World Prayer Center  

The Waiting World - The Nepali
Source:  The Waiting World      Download

Additional Info
Global Prayer Digest: 2007-09-05
Global Prayer Digest: 2013-11-18
People Name General Magar
People Name in Country Magar
Population this Country 2,164,000
Population all Countries 2,578,000
Total Countries 4
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 2  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 43
Alternate Names Bara Mangar; Eastern Magar; Gurkha; Magari; Mangar; Mangari; Thami; Thapa; मगर
People ID 11698
ROP3 Code 102848
Country Nepal
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 48  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file 14
Largest States
Lumbini
518,000
Rapti
335,000
Gandaki
257,000
Bagmati
175,000
Bheri
166,000
Dhaulagiri
156,000
Janakpur
123,000
Sagarmatha
98,000
Kosi
82,000
Narayani
71,000
Karnali
48,000
Mechi
46,000
Seti
43,000
Mahakali
21,000
Country Nepal
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 48  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 14
  Lumbini 518,000
  Rapti 335,000
  Gandaki 257,000
  Bagmati 175,000
  Bheri 166,000
  Dhaulagiri 156,000
  Janakpur 123,000
  Sagarmatha 98,000
  Kosi 82,000
  Narayani 71,000
  Karnali 48,000
  Mechi 46,000
  Seti 43,000
  Mahakali 21,000
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Language Nepali (1,034,000 speakers)
Language Code npi   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 26
Secondary Languages
(only 15 largest shown)
Magar, Eastern
513,000
Magar, Western
276,000
Bhojpuri
18,000
Dotyali
15,000
Kham, Western Parbate
13,000
Maithili
4,300
Kham, Sheshi
3,400
Bantawa
2,200
Jerung
1,700
Kham, Gamal
1,600
Chamling
1,200
Musasa
1,100
Angika
700
Bote
600
Kaike
500
Primary Language Nepali (1,034,000 speakers)
Language Code npi   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 26
Secondary Languages (only 15 largest shown)
  Magar, Eastern 513,000
  Magar, Western 276,000
  Bhojpuri 18,000
  Dotyali 15,000
  Kham, Western Parbate 13,000
  Maithili 4,300
  Kham, Sheshi 3,400
  Bantawa 2,200
  Jerung 1,700
  Kham, Gamal 1,600
  Chamling 1,200
  Musasa 1,100
  Angika 700
  Bote 600
  Kaike 500
People Groups Speaking Nepali

Primary Language:  Nepali

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1850-1961)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1821-2010)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1914-2012)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Following Jesus video Jesus Film Project
Film / Video God's Story video God's Story
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Nepali Jesus Film Project
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels Bible Media Group/LUMO
Film / Video Magdalena video Jesus Film Project
Film / Video My Last Day video, anime Jesus Film Project
Film / Video New Way (Naya Goreto) Create International
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children Jesus Film Project
Film / Video The Hope Video Mars Hill Media
General Bible for Children Bible for Children
General Biblical answers to your questions Got Questions Ministry
General Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file Faith Comes by Hearing
Text / Printed Matter Bible: Comic Book Version Super Bible / Comic Bible Society
Text / Printed Matter Bible: Nepali YouVersion Bibles
Text / Printed Matter Children and youth resources One Hope
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
10.48 %
Christianity  (Evangelical Unknown)
2.28 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
86.80 %
Islam
0.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.17 %
Unknown
0.28 %
* From latest Nepal census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2022  Kerry Olson  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project.  
Video Source The Waiting World
Profile Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more