Reminiscing and reliving Magh Bihu



 Nostalgia is a part and parcel of every immigrant's life, rather treasure trove of every immigrant's life. I carry a piece of Assam in my heart and wear it on my sleeves. Special occasions and festivities often transport me to my homeland, especially to my large family with all Uncles and Aunts, to our house and our big courtyard in Assam. During this time, my homeland Assam celebrates Magh Bihu with great zeal. Magh Bihu is a harvest festival just like Thanksgiving in the USA, where the end of harvest season is widely celebrated. I reminisce those wonderful times, how in the guidance of my Koka (Grandfather) we used to build a makeshift house in our courtyard, my Pehis(Aunts) and Mom prepared Bihu delicacies. How the whirlpool of flavor straightly tantalized my senses with roasted sesame, ground sticky rice, and the sticky and syrupy smell of jaggery. During the day our house help collected all the winter veggies whether it's olkobi or pohulkobi or tender potatoes from our kitchen garden and got ready for the night feast. Deuta always used to get Meat and Fish. Fresh river fish used to be the star of the meal and without fatty mutton or duck, you can't imagine the Magh Bihu feast. Even though, nowadays chicken is widely used but the chicken came to the Assamese food scene much later.  



       As the day turned into dusk, the night which we call Uruka, the bhoj preparation starts and side by side we start eating kathalu (yam).  It can be either roasted in the wood fire or fried, sliced a little bigger than chips, and sometimes prepared as a patty with rice flour, onion, fresh chopped green chilies, salt, and a hint of coriander leaves and fried in mustard oil. Bubbling black gram dal (mati dail), delicately prepared light and sour fish curry, whippy and thick oily mutton curry with spices like black pepper, chilies, cardamom, and cinnamon cooked in a wood fire. A simple veg curry from the kitchen garden is also part of the feast. You won't imagine even without a hint of spices, it tastes so luscious and delectable. A bed of simple garden fresh salad prepared with tomatoes, onion, and cabbage always accompanied the feast. The night is filled with good food, laughter, music, and poetry, and our innocent jokes while we eat together with our neighbors just like one big family. The next day we used to wake up early and take shower to light the meji ( bonfire) and after the meji, we drink tea and enjoy all the delicacies ma and Pehis(Fraternal Aunt) made, sewy pithas to crunchy loodos, followed by jalpan(light meal). Ma used to offers a prayer in the Namgar (an assamese temple) for the well-being of the whole family. 


The nostalgia took me to my childhood in Assam. Here I am, after 25 years far away from my family with my own family of four with two kids. Today on the day of bhogali Bihu here at my home in Connecticut, I cooked all the food as my mom used to cook during Bihu. This year Bihu without Deuta (Dad), my Aunt came and celebrated with Ma to not let her be alone. Here, I set up the table and laid all the food in front of my kids, I re-lived those good old days. They loved it and asked for more, of course without meji and the bhela ghar. Yes, something when they will grow up to look back and reminisce.


Comments

  1. Happened to read your blog searching for bora chaul. This time around me and wife made some bongali Pitha, but my favorite is the til pitha. Xoru town’ or mozza kita monot poraay dileh apunar blog post...Happy bihu dei!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much . Happy bihu to you guys as well. You can substitute Bora Saul with Either Sticky rice or Japanese sweet rice.

      Delete
  2. I admit, I don't think I've ever had food like this before. I will have to try it!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I haven't tried anything like this before. It looks so delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love learning about different traditions and celebrations. The food sounds incredible.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This looks like a wonderful tradition, and it is so nice that you have such fond memories. These foods sound delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This looks delicious! I love trying new foods from all different cultures.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I know that you must have missed your dad, but it sounds like a wonderful family event. Traditions are important, and the food looks delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Everything looks amazing, I would love to give this a try.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Everything looks beautiful and delicious. I want to jump through the screen and take a bite :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. All these food are wonderfully and beautifully display and I’m hungry by just looking at it,deliciousness

    ReplyDelete
  11. This looks great. I love making the foods I enjoyed as a kid for my daughter. What a fun way to share memories.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wow thank you for bringing us into another country with this post. New savory new culture I love it! I admit i haven't heard most of these dishes. But I'd love to give these dishes a try! They really look good and delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Mama Maggie's KicthenJanuary 20, 2021 at 12:32 PM

    Wow! I am so excited to experience such a wonderful tradition! The food all look sooo delicious and mouthwatering.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Such a beautiful post to read! I can totally connect with your thoughts as I am far away from home too and food connects me to my birth country and my family. Such a lovely spread too

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wow that would be so amazing. I would really love to try this whole experience.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm from Gujarat but raised in the USA. It is always so beautiful to learn about other cultures and traditions!

    ReplyDelete
  17. It's so beautiful to find more about your story and traditions. Memories are so precious!

    ReplyDelete
  18. A beautiful and elegant celebration! Lovely story too. Thank you for sharing..it is always so nice learning about other traditions!

    ReplyDelete
  19. That is beautiful spead for Bihu. I haven't seen thali on bihu celebrations. I now I got to see it thanks .

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wow, what a feast. Loved reading about the traditions and the food. Exotic and tasty, I'd love to join such a celebration one day.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I am glad that you were able to keep the tradition alive as you remember the times you shared with your family growing up. It must have been wonderful and a great experience to relive as well as enjoy.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I would love to try food that looks so delicious, I need to find a place we can order it from, sounds like a great cultural experience

    ReplyDelete
  23. Food culture 😋 is very interesting to me. This blog post is very interesting and informative

    ReplyDelete
  24. I really can relate to this. I have been away too but I still practice our culture and cooks our dishes too. In that way, I still feel our home vibes and I intend to do still do the same when I have my own family.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Disclosure

Please bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.