Rongali Bohag Bihu- New Year Festival of Assam

Bohag (Rongali) Bihu Date 2016

Thursday 14 April

  • Goru Bihu– Wednesday 13 April
  • Rongali/ Bohag/ Manuh Bihu– Thursday 14 April
  • Gosain Bihu– Friday 15 April

Bihu (বিহু) is the most important festival of Assam. In fact, Bihu is representative of Assamese culture throughout the world. Of all the three Bihu festivals, Bohag Bihu or Rongali Bihu is the most important one as it is the new year festival of Assam and marks the beginning of crop season. Rongali Bihu is celebrated in the month of Bohag (Baisakh) as per Assamese calender which coincides with mid April (around 15th April) when other states of India too celebrate their new year festivals such as Baisakhi Festival of Punjab, Nobo Borsho of Bengal and Vishu – the Malyalam New Year.

Rongali or Bohag Bihu Dates 2016

Bohag Bihu will be celebrated during 13-15 April 2016. The New Year Day of Assam will be celebrated on 14 April 2016

Three Days of Rongali Bihu Festival- The Rituals

Happy Rongali BihuRongali Bihu doesn’t last for a single day like other new year festivals of India. It is celebrated all through the Ahomiya month of Bohag with joy and fervor. However, the first three days of Rongali Bihu are the most important ones when people of Assam follow certain rituals in respect of Bihu.

First Day of Rongali Bihu- Goru Bihu

Goru is the Assamese term meaning cow. Thus, on the first day of Rongali Bihu, the cows are worshiped by the Ahomiya people. In fact, Goru Bihu is the eve of Bohag Bihu (the last day of previous year). Cow is considered the most sacred animal in Hindu religion. Thus, on the day of Goru Bihu, special respect is paid to it by worshiping cows. All family members wear new clothes and celebrate the day with Bihu songs and dances. Men in rural areas collect such items as ropes for the cattle known as ‘Tara Pogha’ . Women in villages as well as cities make special Bihu delicacies and sweets like ‘Chira’ and ‘Pitha.’ People wish each other with such greetings as ‘Happy Rongali Bihu’ and ‘Happy Goru Bihu’.

Second Day of Rongali Bihu- Manuh Bihu

The second day of Bohag Bihu which is the New Year day of Assam is celebrated as Manuh Bihu. ‘Manuh’ in Assamese language means ‘Human’. Thus, on this day, homage is paid to elders and relatives. This is the actual Rongali Bihu day when celebrations begin very early in the morning. One of the significant rituals of ‘Manuh Bihu’ day is to present ‘Gamosa’ or ‘Bihuan’ to the older. The Gamosa is worn traditionally by male Assamese on the head as well as on the body. Various types of ptiha ( typical Assamese sweets) and delicious ‘Jolpan’ (snacks) are made in Ahomiya households. People seek blessings of elders and get together to wish each other. ‘Happy Bohag Bihu’ and other greetings are sent to distant friends and relatives too. Famous Bihu dance and songs along with some traditional religious songs called ‘Husori’ are performed at get together. This is a fun way to give and take blessings and wishing everyone a happy and prosperous new year. Mainly young people participate in ‘Husori’ which continues for the whole month of Bohag. Bohag Bihu Assam

Third Day of Rongali Bihu- Gosai Bihu

The third day is Gosai bihu- Gosai maening God. Thus, all family members of an Assamese household worship idols of Gods and pray for a happy and prosperous new year. People pay special offerings to the deities.

Bohag Bihu Celebrations

Traditionally, Bohag Bihu is meant to welcome the upcoming agricultural season, make merry while sowing seeds, pay homage to God, cows, elders and every person who contribute to the process of harvesting. However, Rongali Bihu has come a long way and it is now not only the harvest festival of villages that was mainly celebrated in the open fields by singing Bihu songs and dancing with ultimate joy. Bohag Bihu Dance Ahomiya people living in cities and towns now have taken Bihu festival to stages and auditoriums. These people get together and organize various forms of Bihu dances and songs performed on stage by professionals as well as amateur artists. What is common though is the spirit of celebrating the new year day with utmost joy, hoping for a good new year and paying homage for whatever good had come along the previous year.

Other Bihu Festivals of Assam

Rongali or Bohag Bihu is, no doubt, the most important of all Bihu festivals in Assam, Kongali and Bhogali Bihu are the two other important Bihu festivals. Thus there are three Bihu Festivities of Assam

  • Rongali or Bohag Bihu– celebrated on the first day of Bohag month and of new year as per Assamese calendar (Mid-April)
  • Kongali or Kati Bihu– celebrated on the first day of Kati month of Assamese calendar (Mid-October)
  • Bhogali or Magh Bihu– celebrated on the first day of Magh month of Assamese calendar (Mid-January)

 

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