The season of spring comes up with joy, festivities and happiness all around. The spring season is marked as the season of harvest and beginning of a new year, according to the Hindu calendar. It is welcomed with great enthusiasm across the country. India is a country with cultural diversities and blessed with many festivals that are celebrated in different parts of its state. Different states of India celebrate spring season festivities which are deeply related to their cultural beliefs and customs. Indeed, Bihu is a very well- known harvest festival of Assam which signifies the onset of spring season and beginning of a blissful New Year. Like the Aoling festival of Nagaland is celebrated as a welcoming of New Year and lush harvest, Bihu is the chief festival of Indian state of Assam and some other parts of north-eastern places.
One of the interesting facts about Bihu festival is that it is celebrated almost three times in different seasons in the natural serenity of Assam. Moreover, all of these Bihu festivals are different in nature, celebration and cultural activities.
The first Bihu which is celebrated during January is known as “Bhogali Bihu” or more commonly called as “Magh Bihu”. The festival is celebrated during the time of January in the month of “Magh” according to Hindu calendar.
The second Bihu which is the major festival of Assam is called “Rongali Bihu” or “Bohag Bihu”. This is the most important festival out of all three Bihu fests. This Bihu is celebrated to mark the harvest festival, and each days of its celebration contains different sets of cultural activities and holy rituals to bring peace, harmony and happiness. The festival is celebrated by offering prayers to divine power/spirit for a good harvest and contentment in life. The festival further continues with local dance forms, musical activities, and by enjoying different variety of food.
Bihu celebrated for the third time is known as Kongali or Kati Bihu. This Bihu is dedicated to the worship of crops and their protection. The prayers are offered to the divine souls to protect their crops and vegetation for a better harvest.
The three festivals of Bihu are dedicated to crops and their multiple agricultural stages. The Bihu celebrated during the month of March is very popular and observed not only in Assam but also in some of the neighboring north eastern terrains of India.
The festival is celebrated with great pomp and show. The colorful culture of Assam is portrayed in the festival with enthusiasm and energy of the locals to celebrate and cherish this time of celebration. It has become a major attraction for the tourists to come to land of Assam to be a part of their festivity and enjoy their culture, customs, and tradition. The festival is all about sharing the essence of the spring season. So book you train tickets to the Assam and indulge yourself into the massive celebration of Bihu festival.
The Celebrations of Bihu
The Rogali or Bohag Bihu will be observed in Assam on 15th April this year. This festival pass through seven pinnacle phases and each of the phases is equally important. The festival goes four day long completing all of these seven phases of festival.
Rati Bihu: On this day women of the villages gather under an old tree or at an open field with light lit. The women sing songs and play instrumental music. The festival is celebrated on the first night of Chait month.
Chait Bihu: This is celebrated on the second day of Chait month. On this day the Assamese perform their local dance, sing songs at community prayer hall or at any outdoor location. This is marked as an occurrence of Uruka, a formal beginning of the Rogali Bihu.
Goru Bihu:The day is celebrated on the day of Sankranti by 14th or 15th April. On this day all of the cattle of the village are gathered at one place, near a pond or lake or any other water body. The cattle are washed with different kinds of herbs and mixtures. Black gram and turmeric is used as the main ingredients that are put on the animals to wash them. On this day different kinds of interesting sports and games are organized. One of the main sports is called “Exho Ebidh Haak” In this sport the participants are required to collect 101 varieties of vegetables.
Manuh Bihu:This day is observed on the first day of Vaisakh month. The day is full of celebration. People are dressed in new clothes, take blessings of their elders. The day is also marked for exchanging gifts as “Bihuwan” or Gumusa cloth that is worn by the Assamese people as a cultural pride. The special dress is a symbol of warmth, love, regards and hospitality.
Kutum Bihu:The second day of Vaishakh month. On this day local people visits their families, relatives and have their dinner or lunch together.
Mela Bihu:Mela Bihu is the day that is going to be celebrated on 15th April. The day is celebrated with high enthusiasm and spirit. On this day the fair is organized at several places where all the Assamese people gather to enjoy the Mela. The day is marked as the communal harmony and brotherhood. The events including dance, music, food, special cuisines, cultural sports and many other things are organized in the state which is really fascinating for the people who come here to participate in the festival.
Chera Bihu:This is the fourth and final day of celebration. This is also called “Bohagi Biddai”. The event is concluded with different cultural activities performed all day. The day is concluded with New Year resolution and exchanging Pithas (A cuisine made of boiled rice flour puffed balls stuffed with different kinds of lentils paste or cheese).
Traditional Food Served at Bihu Festival:
Whether it’s the southern wing of India or the western wing, festivals in India has an important component called as “traditional cuisines” without which the celebrations would go in vain. There are many traditional dishes served at Bihu festival.
- Kharbuja ke Beej: This is a unique special recipe made out of musk melon seeds. The seeds are washed and dried. They are further stir fried in hot ghee and later sugar is added to the seeds and stirred continuously. The mixture turns into a thick paste (like a consistency of “Halwa”) and served to the guests.
- Coconut Ladoo: It’s a magic when grated coconut is cooked with full cream cow milk and sugar. Cardamom pods are used to flavor the mixture with a fantastic aroma. The mixture is rolled round in shape and served hot.
- Ghila Pitha: A sweet preparation made with rice flour and sugar syrup. The flour is cooked with the sugar syrup till the syrup dries. This paste is further rolled into small balls and flattened with the rolling pins. After this step, it is deep fried in the oil till crispy and golden brown.
The festival of Bihu concludes with the message of peace, trust, humanity, harmony, friendliness and compatibility. The colorful traditional dresses, Assami cuisines and the festive mood at each corners the state attracts tourists here. So, be ready to be a part of this unique festival and get the glimpse of a completely different and diverse culture in the yard of Assam. There are several trains that run to Assam from all of the corners of country. Book your tickets and board your train to reach here at Assam. Enjoy the enthralling railway journey with tasty food in train. The north eastern state of India is indeed a beautiful place to visit during the Bihu festival. This trip will last forever in your memory and heart.