Bhogali Bihu or Magh Bihu is a traditional festival of the people of Assam and it is celebrated with much fervor and vigor. It's the last of the three Bihu festivals and is celebrated in the mid of January month: a time when winters start to diminish and give way to the upcoming spring season. Derived from the word "Bhog", which in itself means eating and enjoyment, Bhogali Bihu Bihu is the reward for the agrarian people of Assam for all the yearlong labor: beginning from sowing the seeds to looking after their growth to finally harvesting them in the month of January. It marks the end of the harvest season and is the Assamese equivalent of the festivals of Makar Sakranti and Pongal. Celebrations take place on a grand scale and since the granaries are full with the freshly harvested crops, sumptuous meals are prepared and every household partakes in personal as well as community feasting.
On the eve of Bhogali Bihu called Uruka, young men construct temporary structures, known as Meji, made up of thatch, firewood, and with the hay of the harvests, in the fields. To guard these structures, people also construct makeshift huts called Bhelaghar, in which they stay through the night. Great feasting and celebrations takes place around these Mejis: sweets and greetings are exchanged all around, people sing Bihu folk songs known as Bihu geets to the majestic sound of dhols (drums), and many other games like tambola and dancing competitions are organized to entertain the crowd. At the first rays of the dawn, people take baths and then proceed back to the Mejis and light them up with fire. Various types of edibles like coconut and betel nut etc are offered to the burning Mejis i.e. the Agni Devta (Hindu God of Fire). Also, around these burning Mejis, people feast on Pitha Larus (made of coconut and rice), narikol (coconut), sweet potatoes, and sesame laddus.
After the prayers have been offered to the God of Fire, people collect the half burnt pieces of Mejis and come back. These pieces are then thrown among the fruit trees to seek favorable results. The festivities don't end here though, and continue through the day as it is spent in visiting neighbors, relatives, and friends to convey the greetings, sharing hearty meals and sweets together, and in fun and games. Various types of traditional sports like egg fighting, buffalo fighting, and bird fighting are organized all around Assam: some being more popular in one community than the other. From children to young and to old, all people participate in these sports and are a pure joy to witness. The festival of Bhogali Bihu will fall on January 14.
Bhogali Bihu in 2017: Sunday Jan 15