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Bihu - Assamese New Year

Bihu - Assamese New Year

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Published by M.G. Edwards
Bihu, Assamese New Year - a guest post with photos by Pranjal Borthakur - worldadventurers.wordpress.com
Bihu, Assamese New Year - a guest post with photos by Pranjal Borthakur - worldadventurers.wordpress.com

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Published by: M.G. Edwards on May 22, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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04/13/2014

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© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved.
-1-
B
IHU
-
 
 A 
SSAMESE
N
EW 
 Y 
EAR 
 P
RANJAL
B
ORTHAKUR 
 
 is a set of three cultural festivals celebrated in the Indian Province of Assam andother regions of the Indian subcontinent. The most popular,
 Rongali Bihu
, celebrates theonset of the Assamese New Year in mid-April (around April 15). The second,
Kongali Bihu
, occurs in mid-October, while the third,
 Bhogai Bihu
, happens at the end of theharvest season in January. Rongali Bihu commemorates the first day of the Hindu solarcalendar and the beginning of the agricultural season when farmers cultivating their fieldsfeel a sense of joy and optimism. The ancient festival lasts seven days and is known forits merriment, feasts, and lively performances. The celebration generally transcends castesand religion and has evolved into a more secular festival that promotes humanity, peace,and fraternity between the classes and faiths.
 
© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved.
-2-
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
bihuwan
 (
 cloth), a
hachoti
(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.
 Husori (carol)
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,
 Hat Bihu
,
Senehi Bihu
,
 Maiki Bihu
, and
Sera Bihu
, each represent a special significance in the New Year.
,traditional cakes made from rice flour and fillings such as coconut, and
larus
or
 snacks help make the season more festive.Music plays a central role in Bihu. Folk songs associated with the Rongali Bihu are called
 Bihu Geets
(Bihu songs). Husori (huchari) are traditional carols to celebrate Bihu.
 Huchari
comes from the Dimasa Kachari 
words for “land” (
ha
) and “move over” (
char 
).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.
Bihu Performances
 Singing, dancing, and performing is a very important part of Bihu. Dancers dance on anelevated stage in an open area known as a
 Bihutoli
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

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