Assam City Guide
Bihu is the most important festival of Assam observed to mark the onset of new agriculture season and the new Assamese year. Celebrated by marking different traditional customs and beliefs the Bihu festival in Assam has transformed itself as a joyous, colorful occasion that transcends all barriers of caste, colors and creeds.
Bihu is the most important festival of Assam observed to mark the onset of new agriculture season and the new Assamese year. Celebrated by marking different traditional customs and beliefs the Bihu festival in Assam has transformed itself as a joyous, colorful occasion that transcends all barriers of caste, colors and creeds. The entire festivities of Bihu is denoted by a set of three different forms namely Bohag Bihu, marked in mid-April, the Kati Bihu which is celebrated in mid-October and the Magh Bihu which is celebrated in mid-January. These celebrations are associated with three different season of spring, winter and autumn respectively.
Celebrations of Bihu
The jubilation of Bihu is marked by the traditional Bihu Dance and the Bihu folk songs. Dancing on the tunes of folk songs, played by using Dhol (a drum), buffalo horn pipe instrument and other instruments made of bamboo, the followers in colorful Assamese dresses, tap their feet briskly with rapid arm movements. Houses are cleaned and the cattles are washed and adorned with garlands, special dishes of sweets are among the few implications of Bihu festival celebrations.
Various Forms of Bihu
The different forms of Bihu festival in Assam with their rites and celebrations are given as follows:
Bohag Bihu, also known as Rongali Bihu and falls in mid-April, is celebrated to mark the onset of the New Assamese Year which also denotes the first day of Hindu solar calendar. Bohag Bihu is the most famous form of Bihu in Assam which is observed in the different states of India with various names. Fasting and feasting are the key observance of Bohag Bihu with lots of merriments and jubilance in the air. On the very first day of Bohag Bihu, which is called Goru Bihu, house wives make traditional food delicacies of rice and coconut, cattles are washed, sometimes garlanded and worshipped. The very next day of Goru Bihu is observed as Manuh Bihu during which elders in the family are shown respect and their blessings are sought.
Kati Bihu, comes in mid-October is also known as Kongali Bihu. This festival remains low on the notes of merriments as during the period of it, the crops are yet to be grown fully that leads to the empty granaries. Called Kongali (Kangali means poorness), this form of Bihu sees no feasting and special pooja ceremonies are observed to worship Tulsi plant.
Magh Bihu, falls in the month of January every year and also called, Bhogali Bihu. The name Bhogali has been derived from the name Bhog that means feasting and eating. Celebrated at the end of harvest season and as the crops are ready for reaping, the Magh Bihu festival is marked by great enthusiasm. The end of harvesting season is marked by worshipping God of Fire, and farmers assemble at the riverside farm and construct a temporary cottage like structure called Bhelaghar using the hay. The entire festivity is marked by dancing and beating dhol with traditional bihu songs.