What is Magh Bihu?
Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu or Maghor Domahi is a harvest festival that is celebrated all over Assam. The significance of this festival is to marks the ends of the harvesting season.
The term 'Bihu' is derived from the Sanskrit term 'Bishu' which means "to ask blessings and prosperity from the Gods" during the harvesting season. Assam celebrates three kinds of Bihu: Bohaag Bihu or Rongali Bihu (mid-April), Magh or Bhogali Bihu (mid-January), Kati or Kongaali Bihu (mid-October). All three Bihu have their own purpose and significance.
Bhogali Bihu is the festival of enjoyment and happiness is the word 'Bhogali' is derived from 'Bhog' which means feasting and enjoyment. In Assam, it lasts for at least a week and people celebrate it with a lot of happiness and feasting with their loved ones.
When is it celebrated?
The Magh Bihu is celebrated during the mid of January and February i.e. during the Magha when the winter is almost going to end. This year, Magh Bihu is being celebrated on January 15, 2020.
How is it celebrated?
On the Bihu eve which is called the 'Uruka rati', meaning the uruka night, people gather in an open field and creates a makeshift hut called 'Bhelaghar' and the 'Meji' made of bamboos, straws, dried leaves, etc. Meji is actually the mandatory things for the night. People gather inside the Bhelaghar and prepare food items and different kinds of pithas (rice cakes) while singing and dancing Bihu dance, beating dhols, enjoying throughout the entire night.
On the very next day is what is called the Magh Bihu. On that day, people take bath early in the morning and burns the meji . They gather around it and offer pithas and betel nuts to it while offering prayers to the holy God of Fire. After this, they show gratitude to one another by sharing pithas, betel nuts along with gamosa. It's a way of showing respect to one another. Community functions, buffalo fights, egg-fight, cockfights,s and various kinds of traditional sports are being held and people celebrate with one another.
The significance of Magh Bihu:
Farming or agriculture is one of the primary occupations which are done not just in Assam but in various parts of the state. People highly respects and worships Mother Nature and the earth for providing whatever is being harvested. So, Magh Bihu or Maghor Bihu symbolizes the end of harvesting seasons and people enjoy feasting with various kinds of food items and snacks like til pitha, tekeli pitha narikol (coconut) pitha, sunga pitha, ghila pitha, Puffed rice, laddoo, ladu, etc are prepared by the women and they enjoy bonfires gathered together. This Bihu is also known to show respect and gratitude to the elder ones and love and blessings to the young people.