Bhogali BihuThe Magh Bihu that generally falls on the Sankranti of the month is on 15th of January 2019 this year. It is the third Bihu that calls for a grand celebration in Assamese homes. Bhogali Bihu comes from the word Bhog that is eating and enjoyment. The best thing about this Bihu is the elaborate and sumptuous cuisine that is prepared. Bhogali Bihu is also called Magh Bihu as it falls on the Assamese month of Magh. Bhogali Bihu is also the Bihu celebrating harvest when food is available in abundance. That is why it is known as Bhogali for eating and enjoyment (Bhog means food).

Bihu marks the end of harvesting period and granaries at this time are full. There is lot of feasting and eating during this Bihu. On the eve of the Bhogali Bihu day, it is called the Uruka. This grand feast known as Bhog is held on the night of the first day of the festival in Uruka night.

On this day, the young men folk go to the nearby field and build a makeshift cottage call Bhelaghar and also a Meji with hay. During the night, the people of the village cook in the Bhelaghar and community feast occurs.  There is also exchange of sweets and greetings at this time. The entire night is spent around the Meji with people singing Bihu songs, beating Dhol, a typical kind of drums, merrymaking or playing games.

The boys go out and steal vegetables and firewood for fun. In the morning, the people take a bath and then burn the Meji. They offer pithas to the burning Meji and pray to the Fire God to mark the end of the harvesting season. Thereafter they come back home carrying pieces of half burnt firewood for being thrown among fruit trees for favorable results. On the first of Magh (the day after Uruka), people visit relatives and friends places to enjoy Bihu delicacies like different types of pithas, sira-doi, jalpan and other delicacies prepared during Bhogali Bihu.
Bhogai Bihu Celebration
Bhogali Bihu is marked by special events like bull fight, cock fight and egg fight which occurs on the first of Magh. There are bull fights across the villages and smaller towns across Assam held in open spaces where large crowds from villages come and view these fights. The bulls are taken from the villages and pitted against each other and the winner bull and the master are awarded prizes. In egg fights two or multiple players play against each other and the winner is the one whose eggs do not crack open when the competitors try to break them.

Magh Bihu Recipes

Magh Bihu, being the festival celebrating harvesting season, Assamese people prepares many food items both in Uruka night and on first of Magh. On Uruka night, dishes like Masor Tenga, Omita Khar, Chicken dishes and mutton dishes with a number of other items are prepared for the feast to be held overnight. On first of Magh, the womenfolk prepare Pithas and Larus along with Jolpan (sira-doi) and have them after offering prayers to Fire God. Some of the recipes of the dishes prepared during Magh Bihu are:


Til Pitha

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups Glutinous Rice
  • 100 gm Jaggery
  • 80 gm Black Sesame Seeds
  • 4 cups Water
   
Bhogali Bihu Recipes


Procedure:

  1. Soak the rice overnight in water.
  2. Drain excess water and grind it carefully.
  3. Roast sesame seeds and pound them to remove their outer shell.
  4. Cut Jaggery into small chips and combine the sesame seeds with it.
  5. Heat the griddle and spread the rice batter over it to the size of Puri with the help of a ladle.
  6. While it is being roasted, put the stuffing of jaggery and sesame mixture in its middle.
  7. As and when the rice batter gets firm, fold its sides to cover the stuffing.
  8. Turn it over and heat lightly before taking it off from the fire. Ensure that Jaggery doesn t melt and flow out.
  9. Til Pitha is ready to eat.

Bhapot Diya Pitha

Ingredients:

  • Rice 400 gm (2 cups)or Freshly pounded rice flour 500 gm (5 cups)
  • Coconut 1 cup (grated)
  • Molasses 1 cup (patail gur)

 

Magh Bihu Recipes


Procedure:

  1. Wash and soak rice in 6 cups of water for 45–60 minutes.
  2. Test rice by pressing in between teeth to see if it has softened, if not soak for another 15 minutes.
  3. Drain water and spread rice in the colander, keep for 30 minutes.
  4. Pound and grind rice to make flour.
  5. Sift the rice flour.
  6. Arrange a small cup of 8 cm diameter and 3 cm deep (plastic cup not preferable), a piece of cotton cloth measuring 25 square centimeter, a small but deep saucepan with a lid and a strainer that can be fitted on the saucepan.
  7. Boil some water in the saucepan placing the strainer on it.
  8. Add salt to the rice flour and sprinkle some water just to dampen the flour.
  9. Sift the flour again.
  10. Spread 1/4 cup rice flour lightly in the small cup.
  11. Place 1 tablespoon molasses at the center (do not spread molasses).
  12. Sprinkle 2 teaspoon coconut over it.
  13. Cover the molasses and coconut by spreading more rice flour in the cup.
  14. Spread a wet cloth on the cup.
  15. Gather the flour corners of the cloth with the cup inside.
  16. Hold the cloth with the cup tightly keeping the cup upside down.
  17. Place the cup with the cloth (keeping it upside down) on the strainer fitted over the saucepan.
  18. Uncover the cup and remove it carefully form the pitha.
  19. Gather the corner of the cloth again and cover the pitha with it.
  20. Put lid on the saucepan and steam for 30–60 seconds.
  21. Holding the cloth remove pitha from the strainer.
  22. Serve hot pitha at breakfast.


Narikol Laru

Ingredients:

  • One coconut
  • One cup sugar (one may also use Jaggery as a substitute
  • Few cloves of cardamom (optional)

 

Bhogali Bihu Sweets


Procedure:

  1. Grate the coconut white.
  2. Mix the coconut and sugar and then pour them in a hot pan (grind the clove seeds and add to the mixture if you want).
  3. Stir the mixture in low flame till you get a sticky feeling (remember the stickiness has to be right for you to make a laddoo); to gauge the same, try making a laddoo. If you are able to make one, it means the mixture is ready. Turn off the gas.
  4. With these ingredients, you can roughly prepare about 15-20 laddoos.

(Tip: If it’s too hot for you to make the laddoos, apply cold water on your hands before doing so)

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