In various states of India, people celebrate different types of festivals across the year. Some of these festivals are religious in nature while some others are related with subjects like celebrating New Year or harvest. Like Ugadi is a vital festival for people of Karnataka and Gudi Padwa is a part of culture in Maharashtra, the Assamese people are passionate about Bihu. There are mostly 3 types of Bihu that are celebrated in Assam, in various times of the year. Rongali Bihu or Bohag Bihu is a prominent one.
Nuances of Bohag Bihu
As it is, Bohag Bihu has several significances for the tribes in Assam. It marks beginning of a new harvest schedule, to begin with. It also marks beginning of the New Year for them. Thirdly, it denotes onset of spring. However, it remains more of an agricultural festival in essence. The residents of Assam celebrate the festival with great enthusiasm and rituals include dance, singing and making sumptuous dishes.
Typically, Bohag Bihu is celebrated in middle of April. In Assam, this harvest festival is celebrated for span of a week. The first day is dedicated to the livestock. On this day, the bulls and cows are bathed in river or pond as a part of ritual. Old cattle ropes are thrown away and they are replaced with new ones. The animals are allowed to roam freely on the day which is also called as Garu Bihu. The next day onwards, the celebration begins on full scale and goes on for several days. The remaining days are called Manuh Bihu.
In the next days, the tribes indulge in traditional dances that are associated with Bihu. A number of musical instruments are used for singing as both women and men indulge in rhythmic dance forms. They put on colorful traditional clothes and ornaments before the dance begins. Usually, the Bihu dances are performed in open fields or stages.
As part of Bohag Bihu celebrations, people gift the elderly lot with traditional hand woven cotton towels. Large community feasts are also arranged during these days. Sweet desserts and rice based dishes are prepared a lot. People invite and visit the relatives and close ones during these days as well.