Bohag Bihu one of the major festival of Assam commonly known as Rongali Bihu is celebrated in Assam during middle month of April. This most popular festival celebrates the onset of the Assamese New Year and upcoming of Spring. This marks the first day of Hindu Solar Calendar. In the year 2020, it will fall on 14th Arpil. First day of Hindu Solar calendar is also observed in many state of India with different names like, Punjab – it’s Baishakhi, in Tamilnadu – it’s Pongal. This festival celebrates for whole of the month. Rongali or Bohag Bihu falls at the time where no work is for the cultivator but there is enough store to enjoy.
Bohag Bihu is always marked as the symbol of joy and happiness and the biggest festival of Assam and celebrated in every corner of Assam.
The new year starts in the month of Bohag, that’s why it is know as Bohag Bihu and word Rongali derived from an assamese word ‘Rong’ which means celebrations and happiness, so this festival represent happiness of the society.
In the evening women prepare specials delicacies like Piha, Chira etc. In rural areas men remain busy collecting necessary items like ropes for the cattle prepared out of Tara and also collecting vegetables such as raw turmeric, brinjal, gourd for the next day to celebrate “Garu Bihu”.
RONGALI BIHU | BOHAG BIHU
The first day of the Bihu is dedicated to the cattle, as cows and bullocks provide them with basics of livelihood. Early in the morning the cattle are bathed in a river and ponds, horns and hoofs are painted various colors and are adorned with flower garlands. Vegetables like brinjal, gourd etc. are offered to them to eat. Their old ropes are cut and they are let loose for the day. On this day, they are permitted to fodder in any field without restraint.
After giving bath to cattle everybody takes a special bath and the younger people seek the blessings of their elders. In the evening, when the cows return home, they are tied with new ropes (Pogha) and are entertained with cakes especially prepared for them.
On the next day, called Manuh Bihu, special dishes made of flattened rice, curds, and jaggery and sweets are prepared and eaten. On this day 'Bihu Husori' is formally inaugurated at the Prayer hall (Naam Ghar).
The third day is called Gosain Bihu and is dedicated to the worship of deities.
On all three days of the festival, troupes of musicians and dancers visit houses and perform the Bihu dance in the open. The young boys and girls wear new clothes on this day and after enjoying the special preparations of the Bihu, spend the time in egg fight ('Koni Juj'), singing songs of love and romance. Such gatherings are called "Mukoli Bihus" (Open Bihus). The songs are very popular among all sections of the people. The folk songs associated with the Bohaag Bihu are called "Bihu Geets" or Bihu songs. Young men and women perform bihu dances and sing to the accompaniment of drums and pepa, a flute made of buffalo horns. Fairs are organized at different places and the mood of festivity is present everywhere. Where available the girls decorate their long hair with Ko-pou flowers.
Rongali bihu reflects the rich culture of Assamese society. Bihu songs involve various indegenous Assamese musical instruments like pepa, gogona, dhol, toka, taal, hutuli, etc. The Bihu dance is related to rich colourful attire of the Assamese culture. This Bohag Bihu also involves various delicious Assamese recipes.
When it comes to Assamese culture and society the first thing that comes to any one inside or outside of Assam is nothing but Bihu, to be more specific, Rongali or Bohag Bihu.