Bihu is an identity of Assam and one can’t describe Assam without Bihu. Bihu dance is a folk dance from the Indian state of Assam linked to the festival of Bihu. Folk dance of India knows no boundaries of caste and creed as they depict oneness of the nation. They may have originated in different states of the country but all of them symbolize the joy and liveliness of a certain event. People adorn traditional attires like Dhoti, Gamocha and Chadar, Mekhala.
It is performed generally during the Bihu festival. There are primarily three Bihu festivals that are popular in Assam namely Rongali Bihu, Kongali Bihu and Bhogali Bihu and the Bihu dance is performed during the Rongali Bihu.
Bihu dance is performed by both young men and women, and is characterized by brisk dance steps, rapid hand movement, and a rhythmic swaying of the hips in order to represent youthful passion. The dancers sway their bodies gracefully to the rhythm of folk music, which leaves the audiences entertained and enchanted.
Bihu dance has been an integral part of the culture of the various ethnic groups in Assam like the Deoris, Sonowal Kacharis, Moran, Borahis are amongst them.
Khamba Lim is one such folk dance and is performed by two groups of men and women who stand in two rows. The sense of fun and frolic of the Nagas is seen in many of their dances.
The first ever Bihu dance was performed when Ahom King Rudra Singha invited the performers to perform Bihu in the year 1694 at Ranghar fields on the merry occasion of Rongali Bihu. This particular festival is celebrated in mid April and both men and women take part in a rhythmic celebration called Bihu. The style of this dance is unique in every sense of the word.
Bihu dance is well known across the globe and one of the major reasons that have contributed to this popularity is the fact that the authenticity is still a very important part of this dance. Bihu dance still welcomes the spring season with the same enthusiasm and energy.
Bihu Dances with names
Jeng Bihu: This is Bihu dance and song performed and watched only by women. The name "jeng" comes from the fact that in earlier days women in the villages used to surround the place of their performance with sticks dug into the ground called jeng in Assamese.
Mukoli Bihu: Young unmarried men and women attired in traditional golden silk muga dance the bihu and sing bihu songs in the open fields. The songs have themes of romance and sexual love, requited or unrequited. Sometimes the songs describe tragic events too, but treated very lightly. The dance celebrates female sexuality.
Husori: Village elders move from household to households singing carols, also in the style of bihu geets, called husoris. It possibly derives from the Dimasa Kachari word formation ha (land) and char (move over): hachari. Villages could have more than one Husori band, and they would visit households in a village non-contiguous to itself, first singing carols at the Naamghar. The husari singers then visit individual households, by first announcing their arrival at the gate (podulimukh) with drum beats. The singers are traditionally welcomed into the courtyard where they sing the husori songs and perform a ring dance. At the end of the performance they are thanked with an offering of tamul in a xorai, whereupon the singers bless the household for the coming year. If there is a bereavement in the family, or the family does not invite the husori singers due to an illness, the husori band offers blessings from podulimukh and move on. Generally the singers are all male.