Guwahati: Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted the people of Assam in Assamese language on Wednesday on the occasion of Magh Bihu festival.
"On the auspicious occasion of Magh Bihu, my greetings to the people of Assam. May this festival add to the spirit of happiness and well-being," he tweeted in Assmese script.
Assam's two-day harvest festival Bhogali Bihu or Magh Bihu began on 'Uruka' today amidst prayers to the fire god not to unleash its wrath in summer and and community feasts.
Feasting, as the name 'Bhogali' suggests, is the main activity of the agrarian celebrations and people from all communities irrespective of caste, religion or language eat together with their relatives, friends and neighbours.
Huts called 'Mejis' or 'bhelaghars' with bamboo, hay, dry leaves, wood and twigs are set up to hold grand community feasts.
With changing times, these have evolved and now look like tall multi-storeyed buildings, ships and historical buildings.
Feasting is the hallmark of Bihu and people gather in a spirit of brotherhood. Local delicacies of fish and meat are served.
Young men and boys gather in these structures and sing Bihu songs. During 'Maghar Domahi', another name of the festival, merrymaking and feasting continues overnight and early next day the 'mejis' are set ablaze to the chanting of prayers appealing the fire god (Agni) not to cause destruction during the coming dry months.
A variety of sweets, including 'pitha' made from a special sticky red 'bora' rice particular to Assam, coconut, sesame and jaggery are made for the festival.
Guwahati wears a deserted look during Bihu with its large floating population making their journey homeward to the districts to celebrate the festival with their families.