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Magh Bihu (মাঘ বিহু) (also called Bhogali Bihu (ভোগালী বিহু) (Bihu of eating Bhog i.e. enjoyment) or Maghar Domahi (মাঘৰ দোমাহী) is a harvest festival celebrated in Assam, North-East India, which marks the end of harvesting season in the month of Maagha (January–February).[1] . It is the Assam celebration of Meji as the similarities of Bonfire or Makar Sankranti, with feasting lasting for a week.[2]. The festival is developed by the Tibeto-Burman, and Indo-European cultures and festivals Magan of Kachari[3]and Sangkranti festival. The Festival has both Tribal Asian and Indo-European Essence due to variation of Tribes in Assam.

Bhogali Bihu (ভোগালী বিহু)
Poy Me-Ji.jpg
Official nameBhogali Bihu
Also calledMagh Bihu
Observed byAssamese people
CelebrationsMe-Jii,Bhela Ghar
Begins14 January
Ends15 January
Date14 and 15 January
FrequencyAnnual
Related toHarvesting
Magh Bihu
Buffalo fight.jpg
A Buffalo fight held at Ranthali, in Nagaon District of Assam, on the occasion of Magh bihu

Contents

OverviewEdit

The festival is marked by feasts and bonfires.[4] Young people erect makeshift huts, known as Meji and Bhelaghar, from bamboo, leaves and thatch, and in Bhelaghar they eat the food prepared for the feast, and then burn the huts the next morning.[5] The celebrations also feature traditional Assamese games such as tekeli bhonga (pot-breaking) and buffalo fighting.[6] Magh Bihu celebrations start on the last day of the previous month, the month of "Pooh", usually the 29th of Pooh and usually 14 January, and is the only day of Magh Bihu in modern times (earlier, the festival would last for the whole month of Magh, and so the name Magh Bihu).[7] The night before is "Uruka" (28th of Pooh), when people gather around a bonfire, cook dinner, and make merry.

During Magh Bihu people of Assam make cakes of rice with various names such as Shunga Pitha, Til Pitha etc. and some other sweets of coconut called Laru.

Uruka or Bihu EveEdit

A fire or harvesting ceremony Meji is closely associated with Bhogali Bihu, but more significant is Uruka or the Bihu Eve.[8].on this day women folk get ready for the next day with food items like- Chira, Pitha, laru, curd also, various tribes prepare their rice beers usually undistilled like Nam-Lao by Tai-Ahom, Zau by Bodos, Chuji by Chutiyas, Aapong by Missing Tribe[9].In winters it takes four to five days to get the beer matured.

MejiEdit

Another important chore is to build a bonfire in fields[10][11]. Bhoral is a type of granary of Assamese people[12]. The bonfire or Meji usually made with green bamboo, dried Banana leaves. Hut-like structures are called Bhelaghar[13].Sometimes cowherds pass the night in the Bhelaghar warming themselves by fire and making use of the vegetables that they steal from the villagers garden which also a tradition. Uruka feasting may be a family affair or communal. After the feasting, the Uruka is over[14]. Next morning at the Dawn people prepares to fire the bonfire called as Meji.People take bath and fire the Bonfire Meji before the craw see firing the bonfire as it is a tradition. Various tribes of Assam perform the firing ritual variously. The ritual of Meji Jwaluwa (Firing the Meji) is very enjoyable. Worshipping the Bhoral and Meji is done by offering Chicken, Rice cakes, Rice beers prepared by different tribes, Chira, Pitha, Horoom , curd, and other eatables. The Bhelaghar is also burnt along with Meji, and people consume a special preparation known as Mah-Karai[15], that is roasted mixture of rice, black gram. In the breakfast and Lunches of the Bihu people, consume various tasty dishes like Fish curries, Chicken, Rice Bears, Mutton, even Beef by some Non-Hindu Tribes. The ashes of the bonfire Meji and Bhelaghar are used in the trees, and crops to increase the fertility of the Garden or fields[16].

Related FestivalsEdit

Along with the main Me-Ji and Sangkrati, there are many related festivals can be seen Assam and Arunachal. The Kacharis have similar customs. On the seventh day of Magh Bihu they clean utensils and sacrifice fowls to Bathou, their God and go out carol singing, collecting foods. They set up Bhelaghars and burn them in the morning. [17]. In the Full moon day of Magh month(different from Makar Sankranti), the Khamti people observe a similar Bonfire tradition related to Buddha. Given the fact that no other Tai group follows such ritual,it can be concluded that the Khamtis merely adopted the ritual from the locals in the 18th century which was later developed into a Buddhist rite, similar to the Kechai-khati worship organised in the same day.[18]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Celebrating Nature's Bounty - Magh Bihu". EF News International. Archived from the original on 17 January 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2012.
  2. ^ Sharma, S. P.; Seema Gupta (2006). Fairs & Festivals Of India. Pustak Mahal. p. 25. ISBN 978-81-223-0951-5.
  3. ^ (Goswami 1995)
  4. ^ The New Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica. 21. 1987. p. 137. ISBN 978-0-85229-571-7.
  5. ^ "Bihu being celebrated with joy across Assam". The Hindu. 14 January 2005. Retrieved 2 May 2009.
  6. ^ "Bonfire, feast & lots more - Jorhat celebrations promise traditional joy this Magh Bihu". The Telegraph. 12 January 2008. Retrieved 2 May 2009.
  7. ^ |url= http://www.markinkalpataru.org/MK/assamese_date/assamese_cal.php |
  8. ^ Goswami, Praphulladatta. Festivals of Assam. Anundoram Borooah Institute of Language, Art, and Culture,1995.
  9. ^ Goswami, Praphulladatta. Festivals of Assam. Anundoram Borooah Institute of Language, Art, and Culture,1995.
  10. ^ Goswami, Praphulladatta. Festivals of Assam. Anundoram Borooah Institute of Language, Art, and Culture,1995.
  11. ^ Ranjit, Gogoi,. Cultural Heritage of Assam. Janasanyog, Assam, 2008.
  12. ^ Agnihotri, V.K.; Ashokvardhan, Chandragupta. Socio-economic profile of rural India. Published for Centre for Rural Studies, L.B.S. National Academy of Administration, Mussorie by Concept Pub. Co. p. 76. ISBN 9788180691454.
  13. ^ Goswami, Praphulladatta. Festivals of Assam. Anundoram Borooah Institute of Language, Art, and Culture,1995.
  14. ^ (Goswami 1995)
  15. ^ (Goswami 1995)
  16. ^ (Goswami 1995)
  17. ^ (Goswami 1995)
  18. ^ Worship of Kechai-khati which takes place on the same day by Khamtis

External linksEdit