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Celebrate the Magh Bihu Festival

by Madhav Srinivasan 1938 days ago

Magh Bihu represents a time of celebration for people of the north eastern state of Assam. The festival involves a lot of feasting, sporting activities and is generally a time to make merry!

Magh Bihu is one of the three harvest festivals celebrated in Assam. In fact, there are three Bihu festivals, and each of them marks the end of one stage of the crop cycle. Bohag Bihu, celebrated in mid-April, is the Assamese New Year and marks the sowing of seeds in the fields across the verdant countryside. Kati Bihu is celebrated in October and signifies the end of the sowing season and the transplanting of the paddy crop. Magh Bihu celebrated in January when the harvest is completed and is a good time to book tours in North East India.

The Magh Bihu celebration extends over days in the Assamese countryside. In some areas, it is a week-long celebration. There are several traditions associated with the Magh Bihu celebrations and these are still observed with much fervor and gaiety. The festival is also known as Bhogali Bihu. `Bhog’ literally means food and the name signifies that the stores and granaries in homes across the state are filled with the just harvested crop. Book your Assam tour packages from Kolkata for a hassle free holiday.  

Traditions Associated with Magh Bihu

Feasts: Given the fact that it is a harvest festival, it’s not surprising that the people indulge themselves in a food fest while celebrating Magh Bihu. Various types of snacks are prepared and distributed. One of the most popular dishes served during Magh Bihu is the pitha. It is a rice-based dish filled with a sweet or salty stuffing.

Preparing the Meji or the Traditional Bonfire: The preparation begins a day before Magh Bihu. Sticks and leaves are collected and a rough hut called ‘Meji’ is constructed. The entire community spends the night in rough hay structures called Bhela Ghar, guarding their Meji. A huge feast is prepared to serve those who guard the Meji.

Burning the Meji: Magh Bihu celebrations begin with a ceremonial bath. The Meji is burnt and several rituals are observed around the burning bonfire. Offerings of coconut are made to the Gods. Once the rituals are over, various types of potatoes are roasted on the embers of the bonfire, and there is a session of feasting on these roasted vegetables. The proceedings end with a traditional firework display. The crackers are made of bamboo, and they are called Hiloi.

Traditional Sporting Activities: One of the highlights of Magh Bihu is the traditional sports that are observed. These include egg fights, bull fights and bird fights. Tekeli bhonga or pot breaking is yet another much loved sport.

How to Reach Assam

Assam is a very well connected state. There are air, rail and road links that connect this far-away north eastern state to the rest of the country. There are airports at Guwahati, Silchar, Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Tezpur and North Lakhimpur with regular flights from major metros. The main railway station is Guwahati, and it is served by trains coming from Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore and Trivandrum. The state is also accessible by road by taking up West Bengal tours and other neighboring states. 


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