- By Mitalee Sharma, (Photographs by Ashraf Hussain)
As in the previous years, the Assamese community of the greater Washington D.C. metro area has celebrated Magh Bihu in Odenton, Maryland. The celebration took place on Saturday, January 14, 2012 simultaneous with the celebration taking place that day in Assam.
As a member of the Indian-American community, I have always felt that festival of Magh Bihu shared some distinct similarities with the American holiday of Thanksgiving. Both have their roots as harvest festivals, they both have a dominant food theme, and most importantly, they both focus heavily on the importance of reflecting on the importance of time spent with friends and family throughout the past year. But sadly, the last Thanksgiving was a little hard for the community, as mother Assam lost two of her most beloved children within the same month; Dr. Bhupen Hazarika and Dr. Indira (Mamoni Raisom) Goswami.
Magh Bihu is unique as part of the traditional celebration of Makar Sankranti, the winter solstice with Magh Bihu serving a festival of thanksgiving to the God of Fire for protecting us in the past year from fire, and to appeal for his continuing protection in the year to come.
The food bar was filled to over-flowing with all types of well-loved authentic food that have been well-loved favorites of prior festivals. Some of the favorites there were: Ghila pitha, khaar, goat meat, duck meat curry, fish curry, aloo pitika, boror tenga,- maati maahor daail, yogurt and etc., all from a typical Assamese kitchen.
No Magh Bihu celebration is complete with a number of games to play! After everyone was well fed, there were several games to entertain everyone such as “musical chairs” and “Tekeli Bhanga” which were a hit with young and old alike. Other games followed and an enjoyable time was had by all.
- By Arup Goswami
The Assam Association of Alberta celebrated Bhogali Bihu on 14th of January, 2012 in the Scandinavian Centre, Calgary, Canada. The day started with traditional Lunch with “Doi-Chira”, “Til Pitha”, “Ghila pitha”, “Narikol’r Laroo”, “Payas”, “Luchi- Bhaji”, followed by kid’s and Adult’s Game, Bingo, Cultural program and finally traditional “Bhoj – Bhat” with “Murgir Mangsha”, “Machor Tenga”, etc.
- By Parthajit Baruah
Ever since the Magh Bihu menu was circulated, the anticipation for Magh Bihu celebrations in Boston started growing every passing day. Families started preparing pithas and larus in right earnest. Once Uruka arrived on Jan 14,2012, the Assamese community was ready to start the celebration. People gathered in a community hall and what a Bhoj it was. Hats off to all the families for putting so much love and effort in preparing true Assamese Bihu delicacies. The pithas, ladus, nimkis, kumol-saul, sira-doi and cakes were devoured in no time.
Musical chair and tug of war filled in the interlude while people sat around in groups and chatted. The old timers welcomed a large number of new comers to the Boston area and got to know each other.
Finally the time for the bhoj arrived and what a treat it was. In addition to the traditional favorites like sagoli-mangso, masor-tenga, muri-ghonto and hahor-mangso, several new items like Pohur-mangso made their debut.
Plans for Bohag Bihu were touched upon which started the countdown to another occassion to strengthen the bond that binds us all together.