​Assam Chases Big Fish as Covid-19 & Bird Flu Fears Fail to Dampen Uruka and Bihu Festivities

They got here, they conquered, and they returned with their prize. The fog-covered morning of January 13 reworked Assam right into a digital battlefield for fish hunters and their prey. On this very day of Uruka, or the eve of Magh Bihu (Makar Sankranti), treating oneself to the perfect and largest fish is customary.

Amid rising anticipation concerning the Covid-19 vaccine and the upcoming meeting elections, and the shadow of hen flu, the individuals of Assam took to the annual occasion of feasting and festivities with nice gusto. The value tag hooked up to a fish on today is the least concern. All that issues is to get an enormous fish, catch it by its ‘ear’, and dangle it residence with a victorious gait.

In rural Assam, on the eve of Bihu, ‘group fishing’ is a key custom. Folks from all walks of life converge at water our bodies, ideally beels (lakes or ponds). Accompanied with conventional songs and merrymaking, they wade by means of the water, attempting their luck. For the lucky one who manages to catch an enormous catfish, it not solely means a luxurious meal within the night feast but additionally a spot of pleasure amongst his fellow males within the pool.

“It’s one specific day of the yr when the very time period ‘group’ lives up to its true which means within the state. An individual’s means to catch fish hardly counts on today; it’s Girl Luck and an individual’s agility that matter probably the most,” says Bhaskar Deka, who lives close to Bamuni Beel and managed to catch an enormous borali (catfish) for the night.

Fishes and water creatures like borali, chiton, rou and bhokuwa are the favourites. On Wednesday, their costs in Guwahati ranged from rupees 500 a kilogram to 1,300 a kilogram. For the sellers too, it’s like a carnival, as their shares vanished very quickly. Within the night, communities collect round bonfires and feast collectively (bhoj), the place a fish and its measurement turns into the subject of debate for your complete evening.

“Final yr, Uruka was a sombre and a low-key affair within the state owing to the anti CAA protests and the rebellion in Assam. The Bohag Bihu or the Assamese New 12 months was marred by the pandemic lockdown. It’s the primary main group gathering that we’re observing after a very long time. We’d like to be cautious and obey all of the protocols, however the feasting shall be there,” says Amol Chakraborty, a resident of Guwahati.

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