Assam is a beautiful city spread across the valley of river Brahmaputra. The city is well known for its tea-plantations, agricultural and archeological assets. Assam has a rich cultural heritage and Bihu is their national festival. Bihu is celebrated by every Assamese even if they are relocated to some other place. Even though all the Bihu festivals are related to agriculture each one has different activities to follow and they have different significance.
Some people refer Maghbihu as ‘Bhogalibihi’ marks the yielding of crops. It marks the end of harvesting season in the month of ‘Maagha’. During Maghbihu celebration different types of activities are done.
- Feasts – Bhogalibihu celebration is like “Assam celebration of Sankrathi” and the feasts continue for 1 week. The term bhogali is coined from bhog which means eating and celebrating.
- Bonfire – People make merry around the bonfire. This is usually celebrated during ‘Uruka’ which is the night before Maghbihu that is the last calendar day of Pausa. During bonfire there is singing dancing and merriment. A special type of drum referred to as ‘Dhol’ is played and exchange of sweets also happen during bonfire.
- Bhelaghar – These are makeshift huts usually prepared by young people where they enjoy their food and later on burn the huts. While burning everyone pray to the God of Fire – the Agnedevta and offers coconuts in the fire. This signifies the end of a harvesting year. The huts are made out from bamboo, leaves and thatch. The half burnt bamboos are carried back home and thrown between trees are already bearing fruits. This is done with the belief that coming year harvest will prosper even more.
- TekeliBhonga – Pot breaking games is one of the significant Maghbihu activities
- Buffalo Fighting – Friendly fights between groups of people happen throughout the day. Along with buffalo fights fighting between hens are also common.
- Pitha Making - Various types of rice cakes are made which are known as Shungapitha, tilpitha. The coconut sweets are referred to as Laru.
Maghbihu indicates arrival of happy times and is celebrated in a grand way between all communities in Assam. The merriment continues for about a week and the feast is grand. The granaries are full and varieties of delicacies are prepared. Maghbihu always has an excitement as it marks the end of harvesting and people look forward to this festival eagerly.