Bihu 2022: Festivals Of Assam
Assam is one of the beautiful north-eastern states in India, one of the states from the seven sisters. Many festivals are celebrated in Assam, and Bihu is one of the significant festive occasions. Bihu is observed in three types in Assam and everywhere else. Assamese people enjoy the festival of Bihu with all the fun, and there is no discrimination based on any caste, creed, or customs.
The Three Types of Bihu Festivals
Assamese Bihu is celebrated with energy and enthusiasm by the people. It has three types, ‘Bohag Bihu’, also known as Rongali Bihu, ‘Kongali Bihu’ or Kati Bihu, and ‘Bhogali Bihu’, which is also famous with the name of Magh Bihu or Maghar Domahi. Assamese people celebrate all three Bihu forms in the middle of April, mid-October, and mid-January.
The story about Bihu celebrations in Assam begins from ancient times. History says the first Bihu Dance performance was held in 1964. Every form of Bihu is associated with a different phase of the farming calendar. The Bhogali Bihu is connected with the word Bhog, and it means to eat and enjoy. Bhogali Bihu or Magh Bihu is a farm harvest festival. Magh Bihu also means the Bihu of fun and enjoyment. It marks the end of the harvest season during the months of January and February (Maagha).
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The Magh Bihu - Celebration and Importance
In the Assamese month of Pooh, people begin to celebrate the festival of Magh Bihu. The last day of the month, Pooh is the start of Assamese Magh Bihu. Generally, it is the 29th of the Pooh, and according to the Gregorian calendar, it is on 15th January, 2022. Today in the modern era, people celebrate Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu for just one day. Previously, the people of Assam celebrated the festival of Magh Bihu for the entire month of Magh. That is the reason it is named Magh Bihu.
Uruka, A Night of Celebration
The erstwhile night before the day of the festival is ‘Uruka’. It is the 28th day of Pooh when the people of Assam enjoy cooking merry and together relish the bonfire at night. The month of Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu is full of fun. As the granaries of Assam are overflowing this month, people tend to do a lot of feasting.
Assamese men make Bhelaghar, a makeshift cottage nearby to the river. Another thing they have to make is Meji. On the night of Uruka, people are busy cooking festive food and organise community feasts. They share festive sweets and greet each other to enjoy the festival. People are in the musical mood on the night of Uruka. They celebrate by playing Bihu songs and music. Assamese people also use Dhols and play different games. The boys enjoy the night with fun firewood robbery and vegetable stealing.
The Festival Day of Bihu
Assamese men and women start the day by bathing and burn the main Meji. Later, they throw Pithas (rice cakes) and betel nuts in the fire. In this way, they pray to the fire god or Agni Dev to finish off with the harvest period. Women share the Prasad with everyone around. After that, people go back to their homes and take along the half-burnt firewood with them. They throw the firewood at fruit trees for positive results of prayers. The trees are tied with Bamboo strips and paddy stems.
The Bihu Festival is also a sports festival. Many sports like Buffalo Fight, Cock Fight, and Nightingale Fight are organised for the whole day. The young ones of Assam give a Gamosa to the older people. A Gamosa is a white handwoven cloth with a red outline on its three sides and red woven motifs on the other one. Bihu is a great fun festival with all the festive spark for enjoyment.
This Year, the Festival of Bihu starts on 14th April 2022 and ends on 16th April 2022. It is a festival of unity and harmony as all the castes and religions celebrate Bihu in Assam.
May Bihu, 2022 bring all the joy and abundance to the Assamese people and for everyone!