Celebrating Bihu: The Harvest Festival of Assam
Bihu is a popular festival celebrated in the northeastern state of Assam in India. It is a harvest festival that marks the beginning of the agricultural season and the onset of spring. The festival is celebrated three times a year, with each Bihu coinciding with a particular phase of farming.
The first Bihu, known as Bohag Bihu or Rongali Bihu, is celebrated in April and marks the start of the Assamese New Year. The second Bihu, known as Kongali Bihu or Kati Bihu, is celebrated in October and is associated with the crop protection period. The third Bihu, known as Bhogali Bihu or Magh Bihu, is celebrated in January and marks the end of the harvest season.
The celebration of Bihu is an integral part of the Assamese culture and tradition. People from all communities, irrespective of their religion or ethnicity, come together to participate in the festivities. The festival is marked by the singing of Bihu songs, the playing of musical instruments such as the dhol, pepa, and taal, and the performance of traditional dances such as the Bihu dance.
One of the highlights of the Bihu festival is the preparation of traditional Assamese dishes such as pitha, laru, and jolpan. These are typically made using rice, coconut, jaggery, and other locally sourced ingredients.
Another significant aspect of Bihu is the exchange of Bihu greetings and gifts. It is common for people to visit their relatives, friends, and neighbors during the festival and exchange Bihu greetings. People also gift each other with items such as gamosas (traditional Assamese towels), betel nuts, and sweets.
In conclusion, Bihu is a time of great joy, happiness, and community bonding for the people of Assam. It is a celebration of the rich cultural heritage of the state and a time to give thanks for the harvest season. If you ever get the chance to experience Bihu, be sure to take part in the festivities and enjoy the local customs and traditions.