Majuli Cultural Landscape Management Authority
...Promoting and preserving the rich heritage of Majuli

CULTURE - FESTIVALS CELEBRATED IN THE RIVER ISLAND OF MAJULI

MAGH BIHU

Meji prepared during Magh Bihu

Magh Bihu is celebrated on the day of the makar sankranti (mid-january) when the sun enters the northern solar sphere. This festival is also known as Bhogali Bihu which means festival of eating. The harvesting is over by then and there is plenty to eat.
The Magh Bihu is significant as first, it is celebrated at the close of the season of harvesting of the winter crops: bao mainly, and Xali paddy and second, it is the season of availability of all sorts of food items: milk, curd, cream, rice, fish, pulses, gur etc. Thus, after harvesting it is time for recreation and feeding. But this being the season of cold, the major way of celebrating it is to make heaps of firewood, or dry paddy straw called nara and make a fire called meji in open or in the paddy fields and to arrange grand feasts on the night before maker sankranti called uruka. Various kinds of cake (pitha) and breakfast items (jalpan) are prepared by the villagers. The next day, people gather at the village namghar and perform congregational prayers. In some of the villages people arrange a grant feast on that day. This Bihu is not popular among the tribal communities in Majuli.
While the villagers celebrate it with bonfires and feasts, the Sattras observe it with congregational prayers and music. A grass rope is tied around the bigger trees with canonical hymns written on the leaves to prevent damage to the fruit bearing trees. Food prepared from the newly harvested crop is offered Namghar.