Archive for the ‘community celebrations’ Category

Magh Bihu

January 21, 2009

Bihu is the most celebrated festival of Assam. It is a festival that transcends all religious and class barriers bringing people together in a free and uninhabited manner.
Three forms of Bihu are celebrated in Assam: Bohag Bihu, celebrated in the middle of April which marks the New Year In Assamese calendar at the advent of seeding time; Kati Bihu, celebrated in the middle of October which marks the completion of sowing and transplanting of paddies; Magh Bihu, celebrated in the middle of January which marks the end of the harvesting period.

Out of the three Bihus, Magh Bihu is celebrated by the people of Assam with much enjoyment and happiness as it marks the ending of harvesting and people are at ease after a long labourious harvesting period. Its also known as Bhogali Bihu, celebrated in mid-January, originates from the word ‘Bhog’ and signifies eating and enjoyment
In this festival there lots of feasting and eating happens.

On the eve of the bihu, called ‘uruka’, young men go to the field, preferably near a river, build a makeshift cottage called ‘Bhelaghar’ with the hay of the harvest fields and the ‘Meji’, the most important thing for the night. During the night, people prepare food and there is community feasting everywhere. . The entire night (Uruka) is spent around the Meji with people singing bihu songs, beating ‘Dhol’, a typical kind of drums or playing games.

Meji

magh-bihu

The next day is the main Magh Bihu. In the very early morning, people take bath and burn the main ‘Meji’. People gather around the ‘Meji’ and throw ‘Pithas’ (rice cakes) and betel nuts to the fire while burning it at the same time.

bihu

They offer their prayers to the God of Fire and mark the end of the harvesting year. Next day is followed with community celebrations all across with rice cakes being distributed to all. People visit relatives and friends to convey and exchange Bihu greetings.