Seven Days of Bohag Bihu
Bohag Bihu or Rongali Bihu is being the most celebrated Bihu also known as Xaat Bihu. All seven days are known as Raati Bihu, Chot Bihu, Goru Bihu, Manuh Bihu, Kutum Bihu, Mela Bihu, and Chera Bihu. It is the chief festival celebrated in Assam and northeastern states of India.
As it celebrates Assamese New Year and the beginning of the agricultural season, it is very popular and celebrated with the feeling of joy and happiness. It is celebrated by gorging on traditional Assamese food and preparing the fields for cultivation of paddy. It is also a fertility festival, where people, especially women, dance with their signature steps using hips and arms. The songs associated with the festival are called Bihu geets or Bihu songs. To celebrate the festival of harvest and the abundance of crops, Bohag Bihu is celebrated by cooking food items that hold significance during the festival are rice, sesame, milk, jaggery, and milk products.
Bohag Bihu is usually celebrated in the second week of April signifies the time of harvest.
Raati Bihu commences on the first night of Chaitra and lasts till Uruku. In this night celebrations involve the gathering of local women of the local women in an open field illuminated by lighting up the torches. People participate with enthusiasm to play an instrument made from buffalo hornpipe called “Pepa”, and a musical instrument made of split bamboo called “bholuka baahor toka”.
It is also known as Bali Husori and starts on the second day of Chaitra. This day is celebrated by organising dance and song events by the young at outdoor locations, fields or a Naamghor Bakori or Prayer Hall till the occurrence of Uruka, the formal beginning of Rongali Bihu.
This is celebrated on the last day of Chaitramonth. On Goru Bihu, the cattle of the village are brought to a water source and are bathed and cleaned using turmeric and gram paste. After bath the cattle are offered vegetables and Bor Pitha, a delicacy made from rice and jaggery as a gesture to thank them for providing the farmers a good harvest. The day ends with the burning of rice bran.
People have a traditional bath using turmeric on this auspicious occasion, clean their households and wear traditional clothes. People seek blessings from the elders and gift them the Gamusa or Bihuwan as a symbol of respect. Manuh Bihu is also known as Bor Domahiin parts of lower Assam.
Second dayof Visakhis Kutum Bihu, people visit houses of their relatives and friends to greet and bond over a meal. Kutum means family.
This day of Bihu is marked by the celebration of Bihu with cultural events and competitions in outdoor locales. The tradition of events is continued till date with Bihu Melas and functions. The fairs are attended by people from all over Assam and are aimed at fostering an atmosphere of the communal brotherhood and everyone’s inclusion.
The last of Rongali Bihu also called as Bohagi Bidai and is celebrated differently in different regions. The common theme is to wrap the festival with future resolutions. On this day people exchange traditional delicacies especially pithas among their family and friends.