December 11th, 2022
Bihu Festival of Assam – India is a country with many festivals, and all Indians celebrate them in magnificent style. Bihu is a festival of Assam. It is a seasonal event that is essential to the life of an Assamese farmer. Assam has three Bihu: Bohaag Bihu (in April), Maagh Bihu (in January), and Kaati Bihu (in October).
The Spring festival “Bohag Bihu” or Rongali Bihu, celebrated in the middle of April, is the most important and colorful of the three Bihu festivals. This also marks the start of the agricultural season. Bihu is celebrated throughout Assam by people of various castes and religions. It is a secular celebration that promotes compassion, peace, and camaraderie among people of all castes and religions.
The most prominent Bihu, Bohag Bihu (mid-April, also known as Rongali Bihu), marks the start of the Assamese New Year (about April 14-15) and the arrival of Spring. It is a period of joy and feasting that lasts seven days in general. The farmers prepare the land for paddy farming.
The actual flavor of the season is captured by the women’s creations of pitha, larus (a traditional dish consisting of rice and coconut), and jolpan. The first day of the bihu is known as goru bihu or cow bihu, and it usually falls on April 14. On this day, people worship cows after bathing them. On April 15, New Year’s Day, manuh (human) bihu is held in its place. This is the day to get dressed in new clothes, tidy up and celebrate. The third day is Gosai (Gods) bihu, when all home god statues are cleansed and worshipped in hopes of a peaceful new year.
Bihugeets or Bihu songs are the names of the folk melodies related to the Bohag Bihu Festival of Assam. The Rongali Bihu festival celebrates fertility, and young ladies shout out while performing the Bihu dance. Bohag Bihu or Rongali Bihu festival is also known as Xaat Bihu, as it is celebrated for Seven Days. Chot Bihu, Goru Bihu, Manuh Bihu, Kutum Bihu, Senehi Bihu, Mela Bihu, and Chera Bihu are the names of the seven days.
During Kongali Bihu or Kati-Bihu, the paddy in the fields is in the growth stage at this time of year, and the farmers’ granaries are nearly empty. lamps (saki) are lit at the base of the tulsi plant in the household, the granary, the garden, and the paddy fields. Cattle are fed specially prepared rice products called pitha in the evening. This Bihu is also related to the lighting of akaxi gonga or akaxbonti, lamps suspended from the apex of a tall bamboo pole.
Bhogali Bihu or Magh Bihu is derived from the term Bhog, which means eating and enjoyment. It is a harvest festival that commemorates the completion of the harvesting season. On the eve of Bhogali Bihu, also known as uruka, people get together to enjoy a nice feast.
They construct a handmade cottage called Bhelaghar and the bonfire or Meji with hay from the harvest. The entire night (or Uruka) revolves around a Meji, as people sing and dance to Bihu melodies. The following morning, they bathe and burn the major Meji. People gather around the Meji while it burns. They pray to the God of Fire and celebrate the completion of the harvesting season. Throughout the day, several sports such as Buffalo-fight, Egg-fight, Cock-fight, Nightingale-fight, and so on are held.
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