Assam celebrates Bhogali Bihu

Guwahati: Assam on Saturday celebrated its traditional harvest festival Bhogali or Magh Bihu on Makar Sankranti with the burning of 'Mejis' and praying to the god of fire not to unleash wrath during the summer.

With the granaries full, celebrations for this agrarian festival began last night on Uruka when community feasts were arranged by the people preparing local delicacies of fish and meat inside the Mejis erected by them with bamboo, wood, leaves and hay.

As the name Bhogali suggests feasting, this Bihu is a celebration of food after a good harvest and a variety of sweets are prepared from rice, coconut, til (sessame) and jaggery.

In a spirit of brotherhood irrespective of religion the people from all communities in the village together build the Mejis days ahead of Bihu, and even have competions which village would have the tallest one.

At the crack of dawn today the Mejis, also known as Bhelaghars in some areas, were set ablaze to the chanting of prayers appealing Agni Devta (god of fire) to cause no destructions with fire during Posoowa (coming dry months).

Respects were also paid to the elders with gamochas (traditional scarf) and greetings exchanged among relatives and friends with the partaking of sweetmeats as Pithas made with the sticky 'bora' rice peculiar to this area.