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.
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
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.