- Reported by Binapani Sarmah, Photographs by Chandan Phukan
Assamese community in the North Eastern United States assembled at the Kingston Presbyterian Church on Route 27 in Kingston, New Jersey to celebrate Magh Bihu, on Saturday, January 14, 2012. Weather was sunny, with an average mid-January temperature without any snow on the ground. As a result, almost 150 people from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut gathered to celebrate the blissful event. Several new members joined the community who brought a new and additional delight to the occasion. It was a fun filled get together of the Assamese diaspora, many extending their family ties to a broader and multicultural ethnicity.
The day began with the traditional and some innovative snacks consisting of Chira dai, Pitha, Laroo, sweets, samosa, donuts, etc. Around 4:00 PM children started playing their favorite games, such as musical chair, spoon race, and dress run. Then, young and adult alike joined in a quiz competition consisting of rich heritage of Assam/India, conducted by Diganta Barman. Games were followed by a cultural program showcasing talents of young and adults by dancing, singing and even telling jokes. Another new facet of this year’s festivities included an appreciation of home cooked food through a friendly food cooking skills competition. New members to the community who attended the festivities introduced themselves to the attendees. Tej Hazarika, son of the Late Dr. Bhupen Hazarika, spoke about the foundation started in Assam in memory of Dr. Hazarika.
- By Uma Talukdar
On Saturday, January 14th 2012, the Assamese community of Toronto, Buffalo gathered at the Tagore Centre, Toronto to celebrate Magh Bihu. The Bihu was organized by Asom Sangha, Canada. The day started with a traditional Assamese jaal-pan consisting of a variety of pithas, laroo, and sira-doi, cakes, mithais,
The Magh Bihu was culminated with a scrumptious Assamese dinner consisting of Rice, Daal, Rou masor tenga, Labra, Mutton Curry, Muri-Ghonto, Bengena Bhaji, and a full assortment of desserts including mithai, payash, custard, etc. The food was prepared by the menfolk of the community and ladies had a day off from kitchen. This Bhoj was prepared at the venue itself. Everyone who attended was thankful for the delicious and authentic meal. Almost 70 people from the greater Toronto are and Buffalo, New York attended the gathering.
A special mention must be made of all the volunteers without whose hard work and enthusiasm the Bihu celebration would not have been possible. Once again, the celebration of this year’s Magh Bihu allowed the Assamese community to come together and celebrate their culture and heritage. Asom Sangha, Canada is getting ready to celebrate the Assamese New Year on the 14th of April 2012.
- Courtesy Dr. Dwipen Bhagawati, edited by Debabrata Sarma
The Assamese community of the North West area celebrated the Bhogali Bihu on January 14, 2012, despite the bad weather with icy roads. This year’s Bihu gave the North West community an opportunity to remember our beloveds Dr. Bhupen Hazarika and Dr. Mamoni Raisom Goswami, whose recent demise saddened us all..
The event was started with Debabrata Sarma lighting the incense beside the portraits of Bhupen Hazarika and Mamoni Raisom Goswami followed by a minute of silence.
Debabrata Sarma then presented pictures of an old autographed mini magazine, Bindu edited and published by Hazarika in 1970, and handwritten notes, pictures, reminiscing the several days his family spent when Hazarika visited the US in 1993 for the Assam Convention in Washington, D.C. He fondly recounted how Bhupen Hazarika treated everyone with love and cooked shrimp and eggplant pass midnight after returning from a visit to the Atlantic City Casinos. Dr. Sarma also played a recorded tape for about 5 minutes of the 43 minutes of tape recording of Bhupen Hazarikia’s narration at his New Jersey home about his journey to the US by sea in 1949 and his life’s journey all way to receiving the Dadasaheb Phalke award.