It is almost impossible to say when the Bihu was started ! Bihu is a set of 3 different cultural festivals of Assam and Assamese people. It is celebrated around the globe among the Assam rooted people . There are 3 kinds of Bihu are celebrated in Assam in different season of the year. So some one denotes it as seasonal festival but it originated to ancient rites and practices on the basis of cultivation. The 3 bihus are Rongali , Kongali and Bhogali . It is said that the Bihus is celebrated with fun and abundance by all Assamese people irrespective of caste, creed, and belief and every where.
Digitization of Culture and Modern Bihu in Assam
[ Image credit : Arup Das ]
Origin of Bihu :-
“Kalaguru” Bishnu Prasad Rabha had expressed that Bihu is a Dimasa word which denotes such as “Bi” means “to ask” and “Hu” means “to give” and so it is BIHU . Some anthropologists express that Rongali Bihu draws from many different traditions such as Austro-Asiatic,Sino-Burmese, Austro-Dravidian and Indo-Aryan and celebration fervor says like so.
Types of Bihu :-
The Bhiu celebrates in 3 occasion in a years and the names are also denotes with the months and status of farmers in that season. These are Rongali Bihu which is also called Bohag Bihu , Kati Bihu which is also called Kongali Bihu and Magh Bihu which is also called Bhogali Bihu . The Bihu marks 3 different phases of cultivation calendar in Assam such as Bohaag Bihu marks the advent of the seeding time of paddy , Kati Bihu marks the completion of sowing of paddy and Magh Bihu marks the culmination of the harvesting period of the year.
Rongaali Bihu is the mostly celebrated Bihu of all the three and it is celebrated in the month of Bohaag (middle of April , normally starts-14th ). Bohag is the first month of the Assamese calendar and it also marks the advent of the Assamese New Year . It is called Rongaali because ‘Rong’ denoting joy in Assamese and ‘Ali’ means path. This Rongali Bihu festival also coincides with the advent of the spring season in the state (Assam). The most important features of the Rongali Bihu are Bihu Dance and Bihu Songs. The Bohaag Bihu is celebrated over a period of 7 days in open stages or open fields . The very first day of the Rongali Bihu is known as Goru Bihu and it marks the day by giving ritual bath to the cows and bulls . The next day or the first day of the year (Assamese calender year) is the main Bihu Day and which starts with greeting each other and pay their respect to the elders in the family or neighborhood by presenting with a new Gamosa ( a traditional Assamese cotton towel ). The Gamosa is an integral part of the Bohag Bihu celebration and the youth and elders wears them on the head as well as on the body for showing their pleasure . The presenting a Gamosa is also practiced while welcoming any guest during anytime of the year which also is a tradition of Assamese people .
[ Image credit : Arup Das ]
Japi (traditional Assamese umbrella ) is an another item which forms an integral part of the Bihu celebrations . The Japi is normally worn by the farmer while cultivating in the field protecting oneself from the sun and rain during the year . The Bihu dances are accompanied by traditional Assamese instruments like the Dhol (the Drum), Pepa, Gagana, Toka and more traditional hence. Singing Bihu songs which is known as Husori in every where. The similar practices are got transformed to holding community functions in metro or towns where Bihu Kuwari (Bihu princes ) competitions held. The end of the Bohag Bihu is marked by the celebration of Bohagi Bidaai ( farewell to Bohaag) which has become more digitization with the wave of modernization.
Kongali Bihu :-
The Kati Bihu is the most silent Bihu which has no fun fare unlike the other two Bihus. It helds in the beginning of the Kati mah (7th month of the Assamese calendar- middle of October). The Bihu marks silent prayer by lighting of earthen lamps in the paddy fields and some where the same prayer is done near Tulasi tree for the success of the crop are cultivated . The Kati Bihu is called Kongali Bihu (kongal means poor ) because farmers have nothing to spend at that time.
[ Image credit : Arup Das ]
Bhogali Bihu :-
The Magh Bihu which is also known as Bhogali Bihu is celebrated in mid January (first day of Magh , 1oth month of Assamese calendar) . This Bihu is marks immediately after the traditional paddy cultivation is harvested every where in the state . This Bihu is marks with an overnight community function is held in temporary thatched houses named as Bhela ghar (Bhela ghar is made with thatch and dry plantation leaves which is also known as Meji Ghar) . A major Community feast is popular among the youth which is held near the Bhela Ghar every where in the state . People stay in the those Bhela ghar and ending of night they burn the bhela ghar with joy . Traditional Assamese sweets and cakes such as Laru, Pitha ,Muri etc are the main features of the Bhogali Bihu . The next day ,People visit relatives and friends to convey and exchange the Bihu greetings each others.
Modern Featured of Bihu :-
Bihu songs , Bihu Dance and Bihu Function have been treated the modern Bihu where there is no natural beauty and purity of Bihu . A large number of Bihu songs and VCD are made every year to mark the Bihu celebration but unfortunately there has found no reality of grass root cultivators as well as common man’s sense.
There are a lots of Bihu songs are recorded with out following the traditional value of Bihu and their lyrics also full of rubbish . So , Bihu is a celebration of nature and we want it would be celebrated with following the value of tradition and nature.