Magar in Bhutan

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.
People Name: Magar
Country: Bhutan
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 2,800
World Population: 2,552,200
Primary Language: Assamese
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Hindu - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Magars 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 Tibetan cultures.

The Magars are divided into several groups: Western, Eastern, and Southern. As a people they speak both Nepali and their own language. Taken together, these groups number some seven percent of Nepal's population.

Where Are they Located?

Some of the Magar people 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. Magar people live in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan.

What Are Their Lives Like?

These hardworking, self-sufficient, honest people make a living as craftsmen, farmers, miners, smiths, doctors, educators, civil servants, lawyers, journalists, and other occupations. Some are illiterate.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Magar people practice many religions including a blend of Buddhism and Hinduism, worshipping Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. They also practice traditional animism. Less than one percent follow Jesus, and it is unclear how much of the New Testament is available to them in their language.

"Life cycle rituals" are a very important part of Magar society. A special birth ceremony is held 11 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 Needs?

These folk need Jesus. They need to worship the truth, not Hindu deities. They need the Bible in their heart language. They also need true religious freedom so they can put their faith in Jesus without being persecuted.

Prayer Points

Pray for spiritual hunger among Magar people in Bhutan and Nepal.
Pray that Christ-centered fellowships and a disciple making movement will take root in Magar society.
Pray for the Bible to be translated and courage for the few Magar believers to be true to their faith.

Text Source:   Keith Carey