Assam Gears up to Celebrate “Uruka”

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Amid the tense situation that prevails in Assam with the implementation of the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), people of the state are geared up to celebrate Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu. The markets are crowded with people to buy fish for the occasion of “Uruka” to be celebrated today which marks the beginning of the Magh Bihu.

It’s a tradition for the Assamese to buy fish for uruka and markets are filled with various types of fish with different price range starting from Rs. 400-500 and soars as high as Rs. 35000-40000.

Fish like Chital, Barali, Bhokua in the Uzanbazaar fish market ranges from Rs. 600- Rs. 36,000.

Magh or Bhogali Bihu is the harvest festival celebrated by the Assamese in the month of Magh, which falls in mid-January. It is celebrated with the community feasts after the annual harvest.

The night before Magh Bihu is called uruka, a night of feasts.

In the run-up to the festival, villagers in all the 33 districts of Assam and the bordering Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Meghalaya make the most striking and elaborate bhelaghars and tallest mejis (a large bonfire) which will be burnt on the first day of Bihu and offerings are made to the sacred fire of meji so that the year could be passed off peacefully and urge for a better harvesting the year ahead.

Villagers make bhelaghars and prepare various dishes, pithas and laroos across the state. It is not only villagers but people from the city also geared up by preparing different items of pithas and laru‘s which is famous on Magh Bihu.

On the occasion of Uruka, more than150 tonnes of fish come from different parts of the state like Ari, Chital, Rohu, Bhokua etc. “This time we have not allowed selling coarse fish as the district administration has issued order not to sell it and as the wholesale market of coarse fish is set in Betkuchi and that the Uzanbazar fish market is only for selling local fish,” said a member of Uzanbazar wholesale fish market committee.

He further stated that earlier they allowed selling of coarse fish during the Magh Bihu but now they have completely closed it on the instruction of the administration. “As large numbers of people gather to buy fish for Uruka in Uzanbazar ghat different varieties of fish were brought to the market. Special fish like Chital, Ari, Barali have been sold in the highest amount as people prefer these fish to celebrate Uruka. The fish comes from Nagaon, Morigaon, Goalpara, Tezpur, Mangaldoi, Barpeta, Hajo etc.,” said the committee member.

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