The Festival of ‘Bihu’ marks the end of the Harvest season in Assam and to celebrate this, people in Assam organize a festival that is marked by feasts and bonfires called ‘Magh Bihu’. Every year, in the month of January, young people erect makeshift huts, known as ‘Meji’ from bamboo, leaves and thatch in which they eat the food prepared for the feast and then burn the huts the next morning. This marks the onset of the festival of ‘Magh Bihu’ and people indulge in games such as ‘Tekeli bhonga (Pot breaking)’, ‘Moh Juj (Buffalo fighting)’ and ‘Kukura Juj (Cock fighting)’. At night, family members get together around a bonfire and cook dinner and indulge in merry making. Attractions of this feast are the traditional sweets prepared across all Assamese households that include rice cakes known as ‘Shunga Pitha’, ‘Til Pitha’ and sweets of Coconut called as ‘Laru’.

To mark the occasion of the ‘Magh Bihu’ Festival, the Assam Boat Racing and Rowing association in collaboration with the Department of Assam Tourism organize the ‘Brahmaputra Beach Festival’ along the banks of the mighty River Brahmaputra in at Bharalumukh in Guwahati.

This festival is a major draw for all sport enthusiasts across the North East Region. A congregation of people gather to witness this one of a kind event which carries some of the joyous spirit of Magh Bihu and create and atmosphere of sportsmanship. One gets to savour traditional assamese cuisine and enjoy the tribal dance forms. The banks of the Brahmaputra are filled with small shops that showcase the locally made craft products and locally spun textiles. Various sporting events of the likes of like Beach cricket, Beach volleyball, water rafting, canoeing and wind surfing, ice skating, kayaking and Aero sports like ballooning, paragliding and hang gliding. Visitors and tourists can participate in these events and show their skills. Traditional games like elephant races, egg breaking and cock fighting are also held along with these modern and technically advanced games. Competitions like Sit and draw and kite flying are also held where children can take part. Exhibition of traditional craft is also a part of the festival.

Jungleideas welcomes you to the North East India and be a part of the ‘Magh Bihu and the Brahmaputra Beach Festival’ at Guwahati, the State of Assam, Incredible India!

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Festivals of North East India

Traditional Tribes and Festivals of Assam and North East India, Brahmaputra Beach Festival of Assam, Tour of Tribes in Assam, Festival Tour of Assam and North East India
Traditional Sweets offered at the Magh Bihu Festival in Assam. Source: youthveda.com

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Festivals of North East India

Traditional Tribes and Festivals of Assam and North East India, Brahmaputra Beach Festival of Assam, Tour of Tribes in Assam, Festival Tour of Assam and North East India
A traditional Assamese Meji

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Festivals of North East India

Traditional Tribes and Festivals of Assam and North East India, Brahmaputra Beach Festival of Assam, Tour of Tribes in Assam, Festival Tour of Assam and North East India
Customary Bull fights at Magh Bihu . Source: assaminfo.com

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Festivals of North East India

Traditional Tribes and Festivals of Assam and North East India, Brahmaputra Beach Festival of Assam, Tour of Tribes in Assam, Festival Tour of Assam and North East India
Customary Cock Fights at Magh Bihu. Source: assaminfo.com

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Festivals of North East India

Traditional Tribes and Festivals of Assam and North East India, Brahmaputra Beach Festival of Assam, Tour of Tribes in Assam, Festival Tour of Assam and North East India
The Brahmaputra Beach Festival at Guwahati in Assam. Source: nelive.in

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Festivals of North East India

Magh Bihu celebrations in Guwahati ~

I stay at Lokhra area in Guwahati which has a mixed demographics from people from across Assam like Karbis, Bodos and other Assamese people. The dominant population of the people here are still the Karbis who had settled here years ago and continue to live here. Every year in the month of January, the local people get together in preparations for celebrating the Magh Bihu festival. One of the prominent festivals of Assam after the Bohag Bihu festival – which is the Assamese New Year. Magh Bihu is a harvest festival that marks the end of the season of harvest and people celebrate it after a long period of sowing and farming of crops. It is line with the Lohri and Sankranti festivals which is celebrated across India. Communal feasting is an integral part of the Magh Bihu celebrations. This feasting is called as ‘Uruka’ in the local Assamese language. In cities, the local markets gets filled with varied fish varieties that are brought in from the rivers, lakes, ponds and fisheries of Assam.

Households prepare special sweets called ‘Pitha’ and welcome guests to their homes to enjoy these sweets. The best part is building of temporary houses of bamboo and thatch where young boys spend their time singing and playing bihu songs as well. Normally the feasting happens on the night of 14th January and then on the 15th morning people light a huge fire outside their homes or fields called as the ‘Mezi’. At Lokhra in Guwahati on the day of Bihu a huge market is organized at a local field and traders from nearby localities come here to sell their stock of fishes, vegetables and meat. Some vendors even sell locally made curd and cream filled in earthen pots as well as bamboo trunks. These food items are very very tasty and give visitors a unique taste of the sumptuous Assamese cuisine.

I visited the market to see many fish vendors bringing in huge fishes from around Guwahati and selling it at the Lokhra market. I too bought some fish to be cooked for the family dinner on the occasion of the Magh Bihu celebrations. In front of my house some local boys had built a temporary house made of thatch and bamboo and they would be feasting along with a few families from the locality. They had put on nice songs across the day on the occasion of Magh Bihu. By evening people got busy preparing for the community dinner. I could observe these activities from my house balcony. At our home too the caretaker and his family got ready for the preparations of the Magh Bihu feast. They were preparing fish curry with local herbs and goat meat with papaya curry.

By 9.30 PM everyone at our home had gathered in a makeshift table and bench and in the outside we could see the families sitting down in the fields for dinner as well. Songs and dances continued near the makeshift house.

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