EXPLAINED: Fire burns all the evils, giving room to positivity, and power. The significance of Magh Bihu and the reason behind its celebration.
Magh Bihu – the celebration of the end of the harvest season in Assam – will be celebrated with great fervour and joy. The celebrations will start with the much-loved Uruka on 14 January and culminate with the burning of the ‘Meji’ on the auspicious morning of 15 January.
The festival of Bihu and its history have had multiple traces drawn by numerous scholars and historians. One historical viewpoint traces Magh Bihu back to 3500 BC with the practice of offering fire sacrifices with belief that it will improve the harvest.
In other parts of India, different communities celebrate different festivals such as Lohri, Makar Sankranti and Pongal.
One of the reputed folklorists, the late Lila Gogoi wrote several books on Bihu, Bongeet and Assamese culture and in one of his books, he highlighted that cultural elements of the Aryans, the Austrics, the Mongoloids and the Alpines are intertwined with the way Bihu is celebrated and are almost impossible to separate.
As per Nagen Saikia, former Assam Sahitya Sabha President, non-Aryans believed that fire had the power to ward off all evil while the Aryans, who came to the Brahmaputra valley and settled here, gave the fire a religious connotation.