North-East India is indeed a paradise unexplored and one of the best port of call for nature lovers, trekkers and wildlife enthusiasts. It is also well known for its diverse culture and traditional lifestyle. Festivals are an indelible part of the lives of the people residing in the region. Like most other festivals, ‘Bhogali Bihu’ celebrated in Assam is associated with farming. The Uruka (a community feast) is followed by two days of Bihu. The night of Uruka is spent around a bonfire or meji with people singing Bihu geet (Bihu songs) accompanied by various indigenous Assamese musical instruments like pepa, gogona, dhol, etc . People build a makeshift cottage called bhelaghar where the night’s feast is enjoyed.
The next morning, people take a bath and burn the main meji. The crowd gathers around the meji and throw pithas (rice cakes) and betel nuts into it. They offer their prayers to the God of Fire and mark the end of the harvesting year. Different types of sports or games like mohor juj (buffalo fight), koni juj (egg fight), kukura juj (rooster fight) are held throughout the day.
Nowadays, Bihu is celebrated by Assamese NRIs outside the country as well. Another element which is an integral part of the Bihu celebration and is a symbol of Assamese culture is the ‘Japi’- a traditional bamboo hat with colorful designs.
Festivals are all about celebrating together and feeling gleeful. Bihu is one such festival which brings the local people together.