Magh Bihu 2021: Date, significance, celebrations of Assam's harvest festival

Published on Jan 12, 2021 06:12 PM IST

Magh Bihu 2021: Like Lohri and Makar Sankranti, Assam’s Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu also marks the end of cold and harsh winter months and here’s all you need to know about the date, significance and celebration of the harvest festival in agriculture-based India

Magh Bihu 2021: Date, significance and celebrations of the harvest festival in Assam, India(Twitter/mi_hilly)
Magh Bihu 2021: Date, significance and celebrations of the harvest festival in Assam, India(Twitter/mi_hilly)
Byhindustantimes.com | Edited by Zarafshan Shiraz

Celebrating the end of the harvest season and the cold, harsh winters is termed by different names in culturally varied Indian states and Magh Bihu in Assam is one of them. Like Lohri and Makar Sankranti, Assam’s Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu also marks the winter solstice and celebrates the days getting longer with the sun proceeding on its northward journey.

Here’s all you need to know about the date, significance and celebration of the harvest festival in agriculture-based India:

Date:

This year, Magh Bihu will be celebrated on Friday that is January 15, 2021. The month of January–February is called Magh in Northeast India while 'Bihu' derives its meaning from the Sanskrit word ‘bishu’ which means “to ask for prosperity from the Gods during the harvesting season.”

Significance and celebrations:

Developed from the festival Magan of Kachariby and by the Indo-aryan cultures, Tibeto-Burman ethnicity and also those of Austroasiatic, the festival has various essences. The majority in Assam, however, is of the indigenous Tribal Asian who are Sino-Tibetan and Austroasiatic.

On the first day of Magh Bihu or Uruka or the Bihu Eve, women prepare food items like- Chira, Pitha, Laru, Curd for the following day of celebrations. Young people, mostly men, go to the fields and build makeshift huts, or Bhelaghar, using bamboo, leaves and thatch.

A Meji or bonfire is lit early in the morning of Bihu and prayers are offered to the gods.

Next day, the huts are burnt down, people take bath early in the morning and traditional Assamese games like tekeli bhonga (pot-breaking), buffalo fighting, cock fight and egg fights are held. Eating and enjoyment goes on for about a week.

Various variants of rice cakes including til (sesame) pitha, narikol (coconut) pitha, tekeli pitha, ghila pitha and sunga pitha are made and distributed along with other delicacies like sweets made of coconut called Laru, laddoo made of sesame, coconut and murmura or puffed rice.

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