Magh Bihu is celebrated in the month of Jan.to mark the end of harvesting season.As the granaries are full,this harvesting festival is observed all over Assam.The word BHOGALI comes from the word Bhog which means eating and enjoying. the day of Uruka i.e. the eve of sankranti ,Bhellaghar and Mejis are made particularly by the menfolk,with bamboo sticks,hay and wood pieces.A community feast is held on the uruka nite inside the Bhellaghar(a makeshift cottage).Next day both the Bhellaghar and Mejis are burnt.As I mentioned in my previous post that I am going to tell you about burning of the Meji on the day of bihu.On the day of Sankranti or Bihu we gather at our fields at very early hrs in the morning.Meji burning is a ritual where we worship fire(Agni).Here you can see Meji prepared by the people of our village,earlier years it used to be very huge but as most of the youth have left the village for higher education and for jobs...very few people are left behind to help in this.
It was a very cold morning.As soon as we reached near the Meji we kept our offerings on the ground at the base of the meji.Very carefully we lighted earthen lamps(diyas or sakis) .After all the offerings were placed one of the elders of the community did the honor of lighting up the meji.I was standing at a far distance to capture a full view of the happenings at that time but could still feel the heat of the meji.A thick cloud of smoke soon covered the area.
As the fire burned we heard crackling sound of burning and bursting bamboos -the sound is very similar to firecrackers.Kids love the sound and eagerly waited for more to come.While the meji was burning we took the opportunity to greet and invite each other to our home for eating pithas and jolpan(snacks).As we are a guest there we end up accepting many invites ....some invite with a warning attached...hummm,last year you missed our house so don't dare to repeat the mistake !Once the meji is completely burnt....ladies start distributing all the offerings as prasad to the people present there .
The ashes are collected and put on our foreheads as tilak....as you can see in this picture.Now we go back to our home and after a heavy breakfast without wasting a single minute we visit all the people who are our relatives(many) and our good neighbours(many ).In other words we spent most of our day eating and having a good time with the family and friends.