Guwahati, January 15, 2019:
Amid the threat to the jati, Assamese people partook in Bhogali Bihu celebrations. Popularly known as the Bihu of feasting, this Bihu is celebrated by setting the bhelaghars or Meji on fire early in the morning after feasting in them the night before.
People from all walks of life irrespective of caste, religion or language celebrate the harvest festival across Assam. The festival features some of the traditional dishes of Assam like pithas and laddoos which are prepared with coconut, rice, sesame seeds etc.
Let us take a look back at the changing colors of Bihu through the years:
As time has passed by, Bhogali Bihu has found new flavours. As we grew up, new scenes of Bhogali Bihu could be witnessed. In the not-too-distant past, Bihu wishes were different as people used to personally visit their near and dear ones, but in today’s digital era, people mainly exchange their wishes over WhatsApp, Facebook and other social media platforms
In the past, Assamese people used to exclusively prepare rice cakes, pithas and laddoos in their houses itself. But now, due to the busy schedules of people, the tradition is gradually declining. Rising tradition of buying the indigenous Assamese food items from local Bihu fairs, especially in urban centres like Guwahati, has emerged. It may be mentioned that the ladoo-pitha market this year was worth a whopping 45 crores. But despite declining traditions, rural Assamese are still sticking to their roots and this year we saw the construction of many innovative designs of bhelaghars.
Earlier, people used to observe Bihu as part of a community. But nowadays, people are isolated as rising costs and trends of materialism have emerged along with the rise in number of nuclear families and people mostly celebrate Bihu with immediate relatives.
The pre-Bhogali festivities find their best expression in the markets as people look for the best food materials, especially fish, meat, milk, curd, cream, chira, pithas, laddoos etc. The markets are flooded with different varieties of fish, meat and other food stuffs. With a look around in the markets, the shopkeepers can be with happy faces after the huge crowd that comes for Bihu shopping fills their purses with heavy cash.
But beyond these changes even this year the people of Assam celebrated the indigenous Bhogali Bihu amid all the protests against the Citizenship Bill.
Characterized by merry making and feasting, this festival marks the end of the harvesting season when there is abundance of everything. This is the time when the hard-working agricultural folk of the state sit down to reap the benefits of their hard labor. However, it must be pointed out that the Magh Bihu festival is not limited to the agricultural pockets of the state. Right from the smallest of villages to the big towns and cities of Assam, people celebrate this festival with great joy and gusto, though it must be mentioned that the mode of celebration differs from the villages to the cities.
Now, let us highlight some of the high-profile Bihu celebrations of Assam:
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal celebrates Magh Bihu at his residence in Dibrugarh:
ভোগালী বিহুৰ পবিত্ৰ ক্ষণত মেজি জ্বলাই নতশিৰে সেৱা যাচিলোঁ আৰু ৰাইজৰ কুশল-মংগল কামনা কৰিলোঁ।
আমাৰ বাপতিসাহোন এই ঐতিহ্য-পৰম্পৰাসমূহ আমাৰ কৃষ্টি-সংস্কৃতিৰ চহকী নিদৰ্শন। pic.twitter.com/EkZYvCQ9dw
— Sarbananda Sonowal (@sarbanandsonwal) January 15, 2019
Former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi celebrates with his party leaders at Manabendra Complex, Guwahati:
Celebrations at Gohpur:
Avijeet Baruah, nephew of martyar Kanaklata Baruah celebrates the Bhogali Bihu with all other villagers of Baligoan, Borigoan.