People celebrate ‘Uruka’ feast in Assam

Guwahati, Jan 13 (IANS) People from all walks of life on Friday thronged the markets in Assam on Uruka — the annual festival of feast — ahead of the Magh Bihu celebrations starting on Saturday.

Markets across the state were thronged since Friday morning with buyers bargaining for the different varieties of fish.

While the local fish like Chitol, Rohu, Bahu, Sol, Barali and Ari in different sizes stole the show in most of the markets in Guwahati, some markets like the Ganesguri, Six-Mile and Kalapahar tried to attract buyers through imported sea fish like sardine, tuna and sting ray.

“We have all the local fish as well as sea fish like sardines and sting rays. We have bought them from our agents in Vizag, West Bengal and Chennai. They are from the Bay of Bengal as well as from the Arabian Sea,” Anisur Rahman, a fish trader in city’s Ganeshguri area, told IANS.

“Since Guwahati now accommodates people from other parts of the country, there is a demand for sea fish in the markets too,” he said, adding that they have received good response from the people.

Although meat, vegetables, egg and all sorts of recipes are prepared on the Uruka night, fish is the main attraction.

“I have bought a Chital fish weighing 2.5 kg and a Bahu of one kg. While they charged Rs 700 per kg of Chital, they charged Rs 450 for a kg of Bahu. Price is a little high today but it’s alright as the fishermen and the fish sellers also wants to make a little more profit today on the occasion of Uruka,” said Gajendra Hazarika after buying the fish from Uzan Bazaar market of the city.

The Assamese Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu celebrations start from the previous day which is Uruka (the day of grand feast).

While the people will celebrate Uruka with friends and family on Friday night, the lighting of the Meji (bonfire made of bamboo and straw) will take place early Saturday morning, to mark the beginning of the ‘Magh’ month.

Magh Bihu marks the harvest festival and the celebrations continue for more than a week.

The festival is all about food and family and friends visiting each others’ houses during which traditional food like ‘laru’ (laddu), ‘pitha’ (cakes), flattened rice with curd and jaggery are served.