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The festival begins on the last day of the previous year,usually April 14. On the first day, called
Goru (Cow) Bihu
,cows are washed and smeared with paste, struck with sprigsof herbs, untethered, and allowed to roam free for the day.On New Year Day,
Manuh (Human) Bihu
, celebrants cleanup, put on new clothing, and ring in the New Year withvigor. Elders are shown respect, receive
(kerchief), and are asked for blessings. Thered-and-white gamosa hand woven on a loom by mothersand daughters is especially revered as a mark of respect forthe Assamese and a prized gift. Children receive newclothes.
singing begins, and people visitfamily and friends.The third day,
Gosai (Gods) Bihu
, is dedicated to the worship of the gods, with requestsfor blessings in the New Year, and cleaning house. The remaining days,
, each represent a special significance in the New Year.
,traditional cakes made from rice flour and fillings such as coconut, and
snacks help make the season more festive.Music plays a central role in Bihu. Folk songs associated with the Rongali Bihu are called
(Bihu songs). Husori (huchari) are traditional carols to celebrate Bihu.
words for “land” (
) and “move over” (
).Rongali Bihu is also a fertility festival, where bihu dancing with its sensuous movements
celebrate young women’s fertility. It is a time for young men and wo
men to seek partnersand mates.
Singing, dancing, and performing is a very important part of Bihu. Dancers dance on anelevated stage in an open area known as a
popular throughout Assam.Performances may include Bihu dances, theatrical performances, concerts by solo singers,and standup comedy that entertain audiences late into the night to keep the audience