Magh Bihu is one of the famous festivals celebrated in Assam. It is a harvest festival. The eve of Magh Bihu, also known as Uruka, is celebrated by feasting together with family and friends. In villages across the State, makeshift huts, known as meji and bhelaghar, are made with bamboo, leaves and thatch. The women folk prepare different food items like pitha, laru, curd, etc, that is offered to family and also to loved ones who visit during this time. Over the years, how people celebrate Magh Bihu has changed and so we reached out to college students to understand what this festival means to them —
‘Magh Bihu for me is the time of prosperity. I am not just talking about material prosperity but also inner prosperity and well being. It is the time when we purge our souls in the meji fire and try to emerge as a better person. That is what Bihu signifies to me,’ says Madhusmita from Dibrugarh University.
Gitali from Dibrugarh University feels that the community feeling is the strongest during this time. ‘We always get together with our neighbours and build a bhelaghar where we enjoy our feast on uruka night. We also gather to light the meji early in the next morning. Bihu has always been a community affair in our locality and most of the families join in on the celebration.’
‘Bihu for me is not only a festival of feasting but also of self-purification. The fire that burns also cleans our heart and soul. All the evil inside must be consigned to the flames. Spending times with my family and friends is also one of the most exciting things about Bihu,’ shares Hemant from Gauhati University.
Also from Gauhati University, Jayanta reveals, ‘Magh Bihu for me is all about indulging in the evening meal which consists of new rice, curry of black gram, fried yam and so on. Drinking haaj (rice beer) is also a tradition in our house. This Bihu gives us hope and optimism for a bright future.’