Celebrations for Assam’s harvest festival Bhogali Bihu or Magh Bihu began on ‘Uruka’ on Sunday, with community feasts and prayers to the fire god for a good summer season.With the granaries full after a good harvest, people began celebrations for the agrarian festival by erecting hut-like ‘mejis’ or ‘bhelaghars’ with bamboo, hay, dry leaves, wood and twigs of heights up to 40 feet.

Irrespective of caste, religion or language, people from all communities gathered to participate in the celebrations. They built the structures and prepared local delicacies of fish and meat for a grand feast inside the ‘mejis’ in the open agriculture fields.

Accompanied by flutes and buffalo horns, the youth sang joyous Bihu songs with lyrics referring to a good harvest.At home, women prepared a variety of sweets including ‘pitha’ made from a special sticky red ‘bora’ rice, coconut, sesame and jaggery.

After a night of merry-making and feasting, on Monday at the crack of dawn, the ‘mejis’ will be set ablaze to the chanting of prayers appealing to the fire god (Agni) not to cause destruction during the coming dry months.

The spirit of Bihu festivities gripped the State a week ahead of the occasion, with people visiting their hometowns to celebrate Bihu with their near and dear ones.

The capital city, Guwahati, wore a deserted look with a large migrant population, making the journey homeward to the districts to celebrate Bihu and Makar Sankranti. - PTI