Guwahati, April 14: After two phases of hectic campaigning and balloting for the Lok Sabha polls in Assam, the state Monday got into a exuberant mood to celebrate its most colourful festival – Rongali Bihu.
Although it is the most colourful and widely celebrated festival of Assam, the ongoing Lok Sabha elections have overshadowed the festival.
Since two phases of polling in the state are over and the third phase for six Lok Sabha seats is to be held on April 24, the break has made it convenient for people to celebrate the festival.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi Monday launched the Bihu celebrations at the historic Latasil playground in the main city Guwahati.
“Rongali Bihu brings inspiration and infuses a positive energy among each individual in Assam,” Gogoi said, adding that the festival also strengthens the age-old bond among the communities in the state.
Governor J.B. Patnaik also greeted the people on the occasion.
Rongali Bihu starts on the last day of the ‘Sot’ (or the month of Chaitra) – which was Monday. The first day of the festival is dedicated to cattle and is called “Goru Bihu”, when cattle are given ceremonial baths in rivers and ponds, tied with new ropes, and rubbed with turmeric paste and worshipped.
The actual celebration starts from the second day, which is also the first day of the Assamese New Year that starts with the month of Bohag.
People wear new clothes and younger people seek blessings from elders and heads of the family so that the year brings prosperity, good health and good luck.
People throng Bihutolis (venues where Bihu programmes are organised) and take part in traditional games of the state.
The celebrations will continue for next seven days.
The first phase of the Lok Sabha polls in the state April 7 covered five constituencies of Tezpur, Jorhat, Kaliabor, Dibrugarh and Lakhimpur, while the second phase April 12 saw polling for three seats of Silchar, Karimganj and Diphu (Autonomous District).
Balloting in the last six Lok Sabha constituencies – Gauhati, Nawgong, Barpeta, Mangaldai, Kokrajhar and Dhubri – will take place April 24.
Assam sends 14 members to the Lok Sabha.