Magh Bihu marks the end of the harvesting season. It usually falls around the same time as Makar Sankranti, Pongal and Uttarayan – all harvest festivals.
Highlights of the festival
•A night before the Magh Bihu, ‘Uruka’ is observed.
•During this time, men go to the fields, build a makeshift cottage – ‘Bhelaghar‘ – with the hay of the harvest fields and the bonfire (Meji).
•Dishes, preferably made of rice, are prepared.
The much-revered harvest festival of Assam – Bihu – is being celebrated on January 14 this year. Bihu festival comprises three festive days namely – Rongali Bihu or Bohag Bihu which falls in April, Kongali or Kati Bihu in October and Bhogali or Magh Bihu which takes place in January respectively.
Therefore, today Bhogali or Magh Bihu is being celebrated across the nation by Assamese. Much like Makar Sankranti and Pongal, Bihu is also associated with harvest.
Significance of Bihu festival
The three types of Bihu festival hold a greater significance for people in Assam. Bohar Bihu is related to the sowing, Kati Bihu involves crop protection, worshipping of plants and crops while Bhogali Bihu is a harvest festival.
The festival of Bihu shows reverence of the people towards Lord Krishna, their cattle and crops, elderly relations in the family, mother goddess amongst other things.
Influences can be traced from Southeast Asia and Sino-Tibetan cultures as well. The three Bihus are celebrated with much gusto with Assamese people staying abroad as well, keeping in tune with the customs and rituals
Rituals associated with Bihu:
A night before the Magh Bihu, ‘Uruka’ is observed. During this time, men go to the fields, build a makeshift cottage – ‘Bhelaghor’ – with the hay of the harvest fields and the bonfire (Meji). Dishes, preferably made of rice, are prepared.
Food is made there and everyone eats together after exchanging sweets and best wishes. People sing Bihu songs, beat dhols, and pray for a good harvest in the coming season.
The next day, people gather around the meji, throw rice cakes (pittha) and other food items and burn it. After offering prayers, people have breakfast and play sports like dhoop khel, egg-fight and buffalo-fight.
Magh Bihu marks the end of the harvesting season. It usually falls around the same time as Makar Sankranti, Pongal and Uttarayan – all harvest festivals. Bihu is also associated with traditional dance and folk songs.
Here’s wishing everyone a very Happy Bihu .
Apunalok xokoloke bohag Bihu’r Hiya Bhara Olag Janalo.