Bihu ব হ National Festival And The Most Popular Festival Of Assam
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|Title||:||Bihu (বিহু) National festival and the most popular festival of ASSAM|
|Description||:|| In this video celebrating magh bihu festival in Guwahati city is shown. Bihu (Assamese: বিহু, Hindi: बिहू) denotes a set of three different cultural festivals of Assam and celebrated by the Assamese diaspora around the world. Though they owe their origins to ancient rites and practices they have taken definite urban features and have become popular festivals in urban and commercialized milieus in the recent decades. One includes the Assamese new year celebrated in April. Bihu is also used to imply Bihu dance and Bihu folk songs. The Bihus are the national festivals of Assam. The most important festivals of Assam are the Bihus, celebrated with fun and abundance by all Assamese people irrespective of caste, creed, religion, faith and belief. |
The word Bihu is derived from the language of the Dimasa people who have been agrarian since time immemorial. Their supreme god is Brai Shibrai or Father Shibrai. The First crops of the season are offered to Brai Shibrai while wishing for peace and prosperity. So Bi means "to ask" and Shu means "peace and prosperity" in the world. Hence the word BISHU gradually became Bihu to accommodate linguistic preferences. The other suggestion is that "Bi" means "to ask" and "Hu" means "to give" and so came BIHU. It was said by "Kalaguru" Bishnu Prasad Rabha. In Assam, Rongali Bihu draws from many different traditions— Austro-Asiatic, Sino-Burmese and Indo-Aryan—and is celebrated with great fervor.
In a year there are three Bihu festivals in Assam
1. Rongali Bihu (mid-April, also called Bohag Bihu), the most popular Bihu celebrates the onset of the Assamese New Year (around April 15) and the coming of Spring. This marks the first day of the Hindu solar calendar and is also observed in Bengal, Manipur, Nepal, Orissa, Punjab, Kerala and Tamil Nadu though called by different names. The women make pitha, larus (traditional food made of rice and coconut) and Jolpan which gives the real essence of the season. The first day of the bihu is called goru bihu or cow bihu, where the cows are washed and worshipped, which falls on the last day of the previous year, usually on April 14. This is followed by manuh (human) bihu on April 15, the New Year Day. This is the day of getting cleaned up, wearing new cloths and celebrating and getting ready for the new year with fresh vigor. The third day is Gosai (Gods) bihu; statues of Gods, worshiped in all households are cleaned and worshiped asking for a smooth new year.
2. Kongali Bihu (mid-October, also called Kati-Bihu) has a different flavor as there is less merriment and the atmosphere has a sense of constrain and solemnity. During this time of the year, the paddy in the fields are in the growing stage and the granaries of the farmers are almost empty. On this day, earthen lamps (saki) are lit at the foot of the household tulsi plant, the granary, the garden (bari) and the paddy fields. To protect the maturing paddy, cultivators whirl a piece of bamboo and recite rowa-khowa chants and spells to ward off pests and the evil eye. During the evening, cattle are fed specially made rice items called pitha. The Bodo people light lamps at the foot of the siju (Euphorbia neriifolia) tree. This Bihu is also associated with the lighting of akaxi gonga or akaxbonti, lamps at the tip of a tall bamboo pole, to show the souls of the dead the way to heaven, a practice that is common to many communities in India, as well as Asia and Europe.
3. Bhogali Bihu (mid-January, also called Magh Bihu) comes from the word Bhog that is eating and enjoyment. It is a harvest festival and marks the end of harvesting season. Since the granaries are full, there is a lot of feasting and eating during this period. On the eve of the day called uruka, i.e., the last day of pausa, menfolk, more particularly young men go to the field, preferably near a river, build a makeshift cottage called Bhelaghar with the hay of the harvest fields and the Meji, the most important thing for the night. During the night, they prepare food and there is community feasting everywhere.There is also exchange of sweets and greetings at this time. The entire night (called Uruka) is spent around a Meji with people singing bihu songs, beating Dhol, a typical kind of drums or playing games. Boys roam about in the dark stealing firewood and vegetables for fun. The next morning they take a bath and burn the main Meji. People gather around the Meji and throw Pithas (rice cakes) and betel nuts to it while burning it at the same time. They offer their prayers to the God of Fire and mark the end of the harvesting year. Thereafter they come back home carrying pieces of half burnt firewood for being thrown among fruit trees for favourable results. All the trees in the compound are tied to bamboo strips or paddy stems. Different types of sports like Buffalo-fight, Egg-fight, Cock-fight, Nightingale-fight etc. are held throughout the day. The Uruka comes on 13 January & Bihu is on 14--15.
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