Assam Gears Up to Celebrate Magh Bihu

Magh Bihu falls in the local month of ‘Magh’ during mid-January. It is also called ‘Bhogali Bihu’ as it is celebrated with community feasts after the annual harvest takes place
Assam Gears Up to Celebrate Magh Bihu
Assam Gears Up to Celebrate Magh Bihu

Assam gears up to celebrate Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu with ‘uruka’ preparations on Saturday. Markets are filled with various types of fish.

Magh Bihu falls in the local month of ‘Magh’ during mid-January. It is also called ‘Bhogali Bihu’ as it is celebrated with community feasts after the annual harvest takes place.

This year, the festival will be celebrated on large scale across the state for the first time after the onset of the covid pandemic in 2020.

The highlight of this festival is the food, which is made from the abundance of grains after the harvest. The night before ‘Bhogali Bihu’, which falls on January 13 or 14 sometimes, is called ‘Uruka’ meaning the night of feasts. The villagers make bamboo huts called ‘Bhelaghor’ or community kitchens where they begin with the preparations for the festival.

Various dishes made of vegetables, meat and sweets such as Pitha and Laru are made out of sesame, molasses (black syrup from sugarcane) and coconut to celebrate the famous festival.

The celebrations for the biggest post-harvest festival begin with men erecting mejis (bonfire) and bhelaghars from bamboo, leaves, and thatch.

This Bihu festival marks the end of the harvesting season. It is celebrated in Assam with feasts lasting for a week. The festival is celebrated by singing, dancing, feasts, and bonfires. As per the festive rituals, people eat the food prepared for the feast in the bhelaghar and then burn the huts the next morning.

Varieties of pithas (rice cakes), laru (made out of rice powder), sesame, molasses (black syrup from sugarcane), puffed rice, flattened rice, and coconut is prepared by the womenfolk. Feasts are arranged in the open paddy fields where irrespective of age, people from all walks of life, enjoy the festival. People play folk instruments, sing special festive songs and also play traditional fun games.

People also offer prayers to the God of Fire and pick up pieces of half-burnt firewood, and throw it among the other fruit trees for the next bountiful harvest, to mark the festival.

From surviving the cold winters to moving towards the livelier season of spring, harvest festivals like Lohri, Bihu, Pongal are celebrated in various parts of India. From eating special food to celebrating it all night with dance and music, the festival not only marks the beginning of an auspicious year but also brings the family together.

Assam Gears Up to Celebrate Magh Bihu
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