Magh Bihu/Bhogali Bihu 2023- A Festival of Abundance

Magh Bihu coincides with the Hindu celebrations of Pongal and Makar Sankranti in many regions of India
Magh Bihu/Bhogali Bihu 2023- A Festival of Abundance

Bhogali Bihu, also known as Magh Bihu, is a harvest festival held in the month of January.  Its significance to Assamese culture and history lies in the central role it plays in agriculture and fertility. It also marks the transition of seasons from winter to warmer days. The granaries of the farmers are full after the harvest, and there is festivity all around. It is celebrated with nearly as much fervor as Bohag Bihu, the state's most well-known Bihu celebration. 

Magh Bihu/Bhogali Bihu 2023- A Festival of Abundance
Bhogali or Magh Bihu: History and Significance

Magh Bihu coincides with the Hindu celebrations of Pongal and Makar Sankranti in many regions of India. In Assam, the first day of Magh Bihu is known as Uruka or Bihu Eve.  The end of the harvesting season and the Pausha month are symbolized by the word Uruka, which comes from the Deori-Chutia word Urukuwa, meaning "to end." On this day, women folk get ready for the next day with food items like- Chira, Pitha, Laru, Curd. 

Bhuj (from the Sanskrit "Bhojana") is the name given to a communal or family feast held late at night. Different indigenous groups also brew their own versions of rice beer, which go by a wide range of names. For instance, the Chutias call it Chuji, the Tai-Ahom call it Nam-Lao, the Bodos call it Zou, and the Missing Tribe call it Aapong. The rice used and the method of brewing may vary slightly from one region to the next, but rice is always the main ingredient. As a result, there will be subtle differences in flavor and alcohol content. 

People spend the night in the fields in temporary huts called Bhelaghar after the Uruka feast is over. It is customary for the youth of the village to spend the night in the Bhelaghars, where they can keep warm by the fire and make use of the vegetables they steal from the homes of the villagers. 

Everybody gets up early on Magh Bihu, takes a shower, and then makes their way to where the holy Meji has been set up. An elderly member of the community or village lights the Meji. The Meji, also known as the Hindu God of Fire (Agni Devta), is appeased with offerings of coconuts and betel nuts, among other delicacies. Mitha aloo and muwa aloo, two varieties of potatoes, are two of the most popular foods cooked over the massive Meji fire, enjoyed by people of all ages. 

Cockfights, buffalo races, nightingale contests, and egg throwing are just some of the sporting events that draw crowds on this day. The fun and celebrations of Magh Bihu include all of these and more. Assamese culture has celebrated this event for thousands of years, so it is held in high regard there. It's a time when people can come together to celebrate the bounties of nature, strengthening their bonds with one another and creating a more cohesive society as a result. It works wonderfully as a means of fostering solidarity and friendship among people who share a common experience. 

Magh Bihu/Bhogali Bihu 2023- A Festival of Abundance
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