Bohag Bihu

Country: India

Bohag Bihu is a non-religious harvesting festival celebrated in the beautiful state of Assam. This is one the most awaited festivals for the Assamese people. Assam being an agriculture based state celebrates three Bihu’s in a year namely the Rongali Bihu in April which marks the beginning of the sowing season, Kati bihu in October/November which marks the completion of sowing and the Magh Bihu in January which marks the advent of the harvest season.

How is Bohag Bihu Celebrated?

Rongali means happiness and celebration. Rong means colours and signifies happiness and un-bound celebrations hence it is a festival of merriment. The first day of the festival is the Goru Bihu which according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar falls on the last day of the year. On this day the cows are given bath and bedecked with garlands. Cows are worshipped on this day and the old ropes tied to them are replaced with new on this day and they are let loose on this day. Next is Manuh bihu. This day is the first day of the New Year and it is for humans. On this day people take bath early in the morning and seek blessings from their elders. Gamosa- a very traditional Assamese cotton towel and bihuan are gifted to the elders on this day. People wear new and traditional clothes and celebrate the New year.

Males of the village form a band and visit the village household and sing the bihu songs called husoris. They are traditionally welcomed into the courtyards and thanked after the singing with an offering of betal leaf, areca-nut, sweets and money in a sarai (brass dish) after which the singers bless the household for the coming year. During Rongali Bihu a special kind of bihu dance is also performed. On this day special dishes of flattened rice, curd and jaggery are prepared and people visit family and friends and exchange sweets.

Next day is Gosai (God) Bihu. On this day statues of Gods, worshiped in all households are cleaned and worshiped with great devotion. On the fourth day is the Beshma Bihu which is celebrated by the Kochas with great enthusiasm and fervour. The fifth day is Mukoli Bihu; Jeng Bihu, Baisago, and Bihutoli Bihu follow next.

During Bohaag Bihu traditional dance is performed. Bihu fairs are organised to perform Bihu songs; theatrical performances are also held. During Bohag Bihu community feasting on many dishes and sweets like Pitha Larus and Jolpan is held with great grandeur. This is the most colourful and endearing festival of the state which reflects the rich culture of Assam.