Bihu Quick Facts
|16 January 2024
|Festival Observed by
History of Bihu
Bihu is a major festival celebrated mainly in the state of Assam. Bihu refers to a set of three distinct cultural festivals of Assam and is celebrated with gusto by the Assamese diaspora around the world.
The history of Bihu festival is deep and legendary. It is believed to be related through ancient songs, tales and local historical beliefs. This can be seen in association with the land of Assam and its agricultural traditions. Bihu festival is associated with the agriculture of the people of Assam and is celebrated according to the Assamese calendar. The timing of cultivation and the sovereignty of nature play an important role in its planning. The main purpose of the Bihu festival is to signify the protection and preservation of farm crops.
Story of Bihu
Lakhinda and Kochopati - This story is one of the important traditional stories of Bihu festival. In this story, a boy named 'Lakhinda' belongs to a shudra class of people who live at the bottom of the Assamese society. In the story of Lakhinda and his friend Kochopati, they are ostracized by the Assamese society despite their hard work and ability, but are eventually respected and given freedom. This story demonstrates the importance of social justice and equality.
Roop and Jankala - In this story, there is a story of Roop, a musician and Jankala, a dancer. Roop aspires to be a great musician while Jankala is an extremely accomplished dancer. Together they share their arts and transform their creativity. This story reveals the importance of art and collaboration.
Khetiraji and the Bihu festival - This story is about the life of a farmer Khetiraji who believes in celebrating the Bihu festival with his family and community. The story promotes the importance of farming, the hard work of farmers, and the Assamese agricultural culture.
Significance of Bihu
Bihu festival is celebrated during the farming season and is considered as a horticultural festival. Through this, farming is respected and the farmers get a symbol of their hard work. This festival expresses the wish for good yield of crops and their protection. Bihu festival encourages social unity and harmony. It is a traditional form of celebration with families and communities where people get together to eat food, dance, sing songs and play traditional games. It also serves as a form of civilization and establishes solidarity and shared spirit among people.
This festival is an important part of Assamese cultural and art traditions. It includes various traditional dances, music, art shows and colorful atmosphere (games). It is recognized as an art and culture and keeps alive the heritage of Assamese literature, music and dance. The festival is an occasion to worship and thank nature. This festival marks the beginning of the new year after the first Shastra Yuga and expresses gratitude to Mother Earth through the festival.
How to celebrate Bihu
Bihu festival is celebrated with great pomp in the Assamese community. The process of celebrating this festival is done in the following forms:
Guru Bihu: The first day of Bihu is known as Goru Bihu. On this day people make a small pillar of bamboo tanbe (tota) called Mani Tosha in the courtyard of their homes. This pillar is dedicated to the goddess or deities of the house. After this people perform Goru Puja, in which cows are worshiped and fed ginger, curd, chidkani (Assamese food) etc. Goru Bihu initially marks the beginning of the Bihu festival.
Manuh Bihu: It is the second day of Bihu. On this day people organize dance, songs and games etc. in the village around their homes. People consume sweets, prepare food and exchange gifts among themselves.
Kont Bihu: The third day of Bihu is known as Kont Bihu. On this day mainly women make lines of henna on Sanjhi (a wooden plate) in their courtyard and dance. People make sweets and also enjoy Bihu Dhoop on this day.
Bohag Bihu: Bohag Bihu is the main and biggest day of the Bihu festival. This festival is considered to be the arrival of the new year. On this day people wear new clothes, cook Assamese food, sing, dance and play various games. The fair of Bohag Bihu is also organized in the villages where people enjoy various entertainment and business activities.
Tradition and customs of Bihu
At the beginning of the Bihu festival, people tie garlands of flowers at the doors and courtyards of their houses, which is called Kapau Phoolang. It is understood as a symbol of worship and bliss of nature. After this people decorate the gates and courtyards of their houses beautifully, which is called Dhoop Chelai. Various flags, fresh flowers, strings etc. are used in this. It is an effort to enhance the beauty of your home. Applying henna is also an important ritual in Bihu festival. Women apply beautiful henna on their hands and feet. The Mehandi designs reflect Assamese originality and folk cultural elements. It is an aesthetic tradition and enhances the beauty of women.
Apart from this, people dance, sing, and organize games in the Bihu festival. People make sweets, prepare food, and exchange gifts among themselves. The fair of Bohag Bihu is also organized in the villages, where people enjoy various entertainment and business activities. These customs are the official and cultural hallmark of the Bihu festival, making it a special and colorful celebration. Through these customs people enrich their culture and traditions and create a deep bond with each other.
More info about Bihu
The Bihu festival is also mentioned for the first time in the Mahabharata period. In Mahabharata it is known as 'Bhogali Bihu'. Apart from this, this festival was also practiced by King Shiv Singh of Assam as a religious and cultural event. Later this festival has become popular and a big festival celebrated in the society. Various types of traditional dance, songs and art programs are organized during this festival. People play colorful abohwa (games), enjoy Bihu Huddang (Talamandali) and Bihu dance. Along with this, people eat with their family and friends and relish special dishes like Ladoo, Pitha, Jhalmudi, and Fish Meat. Bihu festival is an important and beloved festival that recognizes the heritage of Assamese literature, art, music and dance. Apart from being an environmental and agricultural festival, it is also a joyous and enthusiastic recognition that keeps people belonging to their culture and traditions.
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