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Saturday, April 14, 2012

HAPPY RONGALI Or BOHAG BIHU!


Rongali or Bohag Bihu marks the beginning of the Assamese New Year from the first month of the Assamese calendar called Bohag normally falling on April 14 and 15—the first day belonging to the cattle and the second being the New Year Day for the Assamese people. Rarely, but this year the dates are 13 and 14 April, 2012. Since this Bihu also welcomes the advent of the Spring season it is called Rongali which means fun and frolic. Therefore this Bihu is also known as the Spring Festival of Assam. As nature takes on a lush green look people too go for new cloths and celebrate in unison with nature. This is the biggest of the three Bihus and one of the biggest festivals of Assam.
Bohag Bihu is mainly observed for three days, but celebrations go on for one full week. First day is called ‘Goru Bihu’ meaning a day dedicated for the cattle. Villagers acknowledge the great service of their prized cows and buffaloes by taking them to ponds or rivers for ceremonial bath. They are showered with garlands of select vegetables that are also fed to them. The animals are tethered with new ropes and are wished long lives of service as ever.

Second day is called ‘manuh bihu’ meaning Bihu for humans. This being the first day of the New Year people take ritualistic baths and wear new colorful dresses. They visit neighbors and relatives and also welcome them home with special Bihu delicacies. 
Young boys and girls break into Bihu songs and dances wearing traditional costumes. With the rhythm instrument called dhol and the music of the buffalo-horn pipe called pepa the environs resound and resonate. Cultural festivals consisting of song and dance competitions are organized for seven days and celebrity artistes are invited to enthrall the joyful Bihu revelers in the late evenings. All such festivals are held in open grounds. In major towns cultural events attain great professional standards and lucrative awards are given to the competition winners. Groups of boys and girls also go from house to house performing husori meaning a special Bihu group song and dance. Husori is also presented professionally on stages and competitions are also held all over Assam and even outside by resident Assamese communities.

The third day is dedicated to the deities.
People of Assam look forward to these seven days of fun and frolic and celebrate with Great Spirit. All communities irrespective of caste and religion participate with hearts set free and unbound. The month of Bohag also marks an auspicious time for avid lover couples to get married!
Even after seven days the celebrations do not stop! The people of Assam also have more unique celebrations lined up for bidding a fond farewell to Bohag too! The hub of all funfair is naturally Guwahati—the capital of Assam—and also all other cities and rural areas.  
 



Happy Rongali or Bohag Bihu and 
Happy New Year to All of You! 



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