Assam celebrates traditional harvest festival

Guwahati (Assam), Apr.14: Thousands of people celebrated the harvest festival of Bihu with great fervour in Assam on Monday.

This festival marks the beginning of Assamese New Year where people indulge in ritual feasting and merry-making.

“In Rongali Bihu we wear new clothes as it is an Assamese New Year. We take blessing from elders and we dance together,” said a resident in Guwahati, Gyanshree Pujari.

Rongali Bihu is the most celebrated festival of Assam. It is a festival that transcends all religious and class barriers, bringing people together in a free and uninhibited manner.

People in Guwahati played traditional games, sang traditional songs and performed traditional dances as well.

“Rongali Bihu is a traditional festival of Assam. It marks the beginning of new harvesting season. On this occasion all the people of community assemble in a field and perform traditional dance and song,” said another resident, Shree Pritam Hazarika.

In Jorhat, people dedicated the day to their cows.

On this day people give a bath to their cattle, feed them with vegetables and in the evening tie them with a new rope. The cow is a symbol of cultivation and being an agrarian community.

“It is a farmer’s occasion and we worship cows for better agriculture yield in the coming year. We pray for their better health so that they perform better in fields,” said a resident, Tarun Hazarika.

On this occasion people also set alight the traditional meji, a tall bamboo and straw structure, and pray for well being and prosperity.

Bihu is a two-day harvest festival, native to Assam, celebrated with ritual feasts and the honouring of the Ahom dynasty, which held sway in the state from the 13th to the 19th century A.D.

It is celebrated with much pomp and fervour during different periods of the year. These are the festivals of food that mark the three stages of cultivation, i.e. beginning of agricultural season, completion of transplanting and the end of harvest season.

Bihu is secular in concept because of its association with agriculture. (ANI)