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Rongali or Bohag Bihu: the festival of brotherhood and happiness

Sivasagar, Prangan Duarah: India, the land of many culture and traditions, comprising of twenty- nine states and seven union territories. Every state has its own special way of celebrating their culture and tradition. The Beautiful land of agriculture Assam celebrates major cultural and traditional events as the festival of Bihu. Bihu mainly denotes three different festivals which are associated with agriculture namely Rongali Bihu or Bohag Bihu, Bhugali or Magh Bihu and Kangali or Kati Bihu. Among these three Bihu festivals, Rongali Bihu is celebrated with the greatest excitement as it refers as the starting of Assamese New Year and marks the arrival of Rituraaj Vasanta – the agricultural season.

The vibrant Assam reverberates with the chant of Bihu-Geet along with the joyous songs, which are sung by the migratory birds Kuli and Keteki. The sweet fragrance of exotic spring flowers such as Kopou Phool, Keteki, Nahor fills the ambiance of Assam. Tempting smell of traditional snacks called ‘Pithas’ such as Til pitha, Ghila pitha, Sunga chaul, Tekeli Pithas and Laroos fill the air and make people more energetic. People of Assam wear new and colorful traditional dress to celebrate this Bihu which includes Gamosa, dhuti (for male), mekhela chador (for female) etc. “Chot”, “Raati”, “Goru”, “Manuh”, “Kutum”, “Mela” and “Chera” are sevem pinnacle phases of Rangali Bihu. The first day of Rongali Bihu is dedicated to cattle which are known as “Goru Bihu”. In this special occasion, cattle are taken to the river or pond to bath in with a paste of turmeric and pulses which are traditionally known as “Mah-Haldhi” and sprigs of plants called Dighalati and Makhiyati. And people sing the following phases- “lao kha bengana kha, bosore bosore barhi ja –mar xoru, baper xoru, toi hobi bor bor goru” and “Dighloti dighal paat, maakhi marru jaat jaat”. At the evening time, they are tied with new ropes. And at the end of the rice bran is burned to create smoke which is called “jaak”.

The second day is celebrated as Manuh Bihu. People have a special maah halodhi bath, put on new traditional clothes and light chaki at Gohai Ghor. Seeking blessings from the elder is a tradition of Manuh Bihu. Husori is another colorful part of this Bihu. The dancer’s forming a ring and start thumping the ‘Dhul’ (drum) and they announce their arrival by beating it at the gate of the house hold. At the end of the Husori, by offering small token which is called “Dakhina” in a Xorai the householders thank the Husori. The Husori bless the household for a prosperous new year to come. This colorful festival continues for seven days and in Assamese, it is called Xaat Bihu. Bihu gently reflects the colorful culture of Assam. This year Bohag Bihu will be celebrated on 14-15th of April. Now it’s time to get ready for the energetic and sparkling celebrations of our New Year. Hope this Bihu brings joy and prosperity to the people of Assam.

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