True to the tradition of past many years, this year too the NE Assamese community congregated at the Kingston Presbyterian Church, Kingston, New Jersey, on January 12th, to celebrate one of the most important festivals of the Assamese - the Magh Bihu. The Assamese diaspora from the tri-state area and neighboring Pennsylvania and Delaware - spurred by the milder than normal weather - participated in record numbers in this year’s celebration. The total number of participants was about one hundred.
The program was kicked off with fun and games for the children and adults that included the very Assamese “tekeli bhonga”, hot potato and musical chairs. A cultural program of song and dance followed the games. M/s Rick and Nick Bhuyan and Ms. Pongkhi Sharma enthralled the audience with their superlative performance of popular Hindi songs while Mr. Prafulla Chaoudhury rendered a sonorous Borgeet. The cultural program concluded with an impromptu Bihu dance.
As in the case of Magh Bihu back home in our Assam, the most important feature of the New Jersey celebration was of course the community feast - thanks to the army of food volunteers. True to the name “Bhogalee”, there were abundant food of many varieties - from traditional Ghila pitha, Doi-Chira to popular snacks, from main course of very Assamese “bengena pitika”, “Maasor tenga”, “Xoriyoh diya maas” to desserts that included an exotic “Mango delight”, it was a sumptuous dinner.
The celebrations concluded with a vote of thanks by the organizers, an appeal to the community to keep our heritage alive by observing the three most important festivals of the Assamese - Gurujonar janmotsav and the Bohag and Magh Bihu. A tentative announcement was made about the upcoming Rongalee Bihu celebration in April 2008.
Jyoti Handique, NJ