Mouth watering plates as part of the authentic feast, old videos of traditional Bihu dancing and a gathering of just people nearby will mark this year the celebrations of the harvest festival, Magh Bihu, for most Assamese in Delhi-NCR. The pandemic may have made intimate bohemianism, but the spirit of the festival remains intact as plans to prepare delicacies at home are fulfilled!
Pithas to support the pandemic
Magh Bihu is a time when we all come together to celebrate the harvest. To me, the whole idea of the festival is to eat, says Shaaistah Borah, a 14-year-old student from Gurugram. He shares that the good old-fashioned celebrations at large-scale community meetings will be lost. It will not be the same this year without holidays and traditional games and music, but it would certainly be something memorable with my family. This time we will have our little celebration at home. Our breakfast will start with doi-sira-gur (curd fringes-rice flakes) and cook well the same traditional dishes as before, such as narikol pitha (coconut rice cakes) and laru (laddu coconut).
For Ritvik Saikia, another Gurugram resident, the Magh Bihu celebrations will be without ordinary joy. He recalls, We were all sitting around a fire on a cold Delhi evening … Even though the gathering will be small this year, still make the most of it and spend time with our family, enjoy some nice dishes made from mutton, pork and fish, and of course delicious pithas!
Originally from Assam, enjoyed in Delhi
The Assam Delhi Association has put on hold the annual event organized to celebrate Magh Bihu, due to restrictions imposed during Covid-19. Dibyojit Dutta, general secretary of the association, says, We hoped the government would provide some relaxation so that we could organize the annual event, but this is not happening right now, as it is important to follow the Covid-19 health guidelines of all. I recently returned from Assam and brought a lot of food that I would enjoy with my friends in the north-east here in the Capital!
Lighting me: To say goodbye to the cold
This year we will celebrate Uruka with my family. On the day of Makar Sankranti, we welcome the Sun in the northern hemisphere, says Jayantimala Devi, a retired government official, adding, In the morning we will light the traditional Meji (a structure made of wood and tree leaves) in prayer society , and symbolically offer the harvest produce to the fire god, Agni, to bid farewell to the stinging cold.
But May will also be created on a smaller scale this year. Hironlal Dutta, a retired government employee, says Magh Bihu will be a mitigating issue and instead of the big fire Barely, this time there will be a mini Barely, for which we have already bought a little angel , in the Internet.
Even Dutta feels sad that the big social gathering and large-scale community celebration will be missed this time. The beautiful occasion will be celebrated within the four walls of our homes. I live in a society that houses a group where most of the residents are Assamese, and we celebrated Magh Bihu and Bohag Bihu in a magnificent way. But this time such large social gatherings are forbidden. My family will of course have a little Bhoj on Uruka night. Our motto Bihu this time is: Enjoy from home!
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