Magh Bihu, also known as Bhogali Bihu is is the harvest festival celebrated by the Assamese people in the local month of Magh during mid-January. Magh Bihu is celebrated with community feasts after the annual harvest. The highlight of this festival is the food due to the abundance of grains after the harvest. It is the time when winter sets out on its last course, making way for spring. This agrarian festival, as the name itself suggests, is all about celebrating a bumper crop through feasting.
Night before Magh Bihu is called Uruka. it is the night of feasts. Villagers make bamboo huts called “Bhelaghor”, or community kitchen. The family members gather around a bonfire to play games and dance to folk music. Various dishes, vegetables, meat items and sweets such as Pitha, Laru are made out of sesame, molasses and coconut are prepared. People also visit the homes of their friends and relatives to exchange pleasantries on the occasion of Bihu.
Next morning, they wake up and light the Meji (normally a towering structure made of inflammable hay, twigs etc) and offer prayers for a better harvest in the year ahead. Offerings are made to the sacred fire and people later indulge in traditional Jolpan breakfast. Indigenous games such as Dhop Khel, Pot breaking, Egg fights and Buffalo fighting can be also a part of the celebrations. Younger ones shows respect to the elders with Gamosa.
Magh Bihu is also marks Makar Sankranti, or the transit of the sun towards the Tropic of Cancer. Across India celebrate the same occasion as it marks the end of winter and the beginning of longer days. This festival is known as Baisakhi in North-India and Makar Sankranti in South-India.