Come April and Kuhuwa Das starts missing the aroma of pitha (Assamese sweet) wafting through the air. At this time of the year, she would usually partake in various rituals while soaking in the festive spirit at her native place. For every Assamese, Bihu is all about celebrating life and culture.
However, not many can afford to go to Assam due to work and financial constraints. But thanks to Assam Society of Bangalore who have made it possible for thousands of Assamese residing here to recreate the magic of Bihu festival in the city year after year.
In fact, this was the 15th year that the association organised the event to usher in the Assamese New Year. This year, Assam Society of Bangalore, celebrated the approach of Bohaag Bihu festival in a grand manner at Kanteerva Stadium on Friday evening. Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister R Ashoka, was the chief guest for the event. “I am very proud to be here today, amidst you, who, I consider, are very dear to me. Karnataka is a very safe place and I have promised your CM that my care will always be there,” Ashoka said.
The most striking part of the celebration was the thanks giving speech by Dr Shimanta Sarma who is the chief advisor of Assam Society of Bangalore. She applauded the support given by the government of Karnataka and Bangalore city police during NE exodus last year. Shimanta Sarma said, “In fact, we wanted to felicitate all the police officials with our traditional gamucha and japi (bamboo hat) but we could not do that as the Bangalore police personnel could not come to attend the event due to the ongoing election code of conduct.”
Kanteerva Stadium witnessed at least 4,000 Assamese people gathered at the venue. Shimanta said, “As per the passes collected at the gate, we had about 4,200-4,300 people attending the function.” The evening also saw people putting up spectacular Bihu dance performances.
The crowd grooved to some of the popular chart busters sung by Assamese singers Dikshu, Priyanka Bharali and Gautam Konwar. Pranjal, the secretary of Assam society said, “We felicitated achievers in sports and toppers in law exams. The idea was to showcase and celebrate our culture and tradition.”
Apart from that, the event also witnessed the unveiling of an Assamese magazine called ‘Jeuti’. Pranjal said, “Anybody and everybody are welcome to write for the magazine. The magazine contains articles of individuals who have shared their emotions and experiences in Bangalore.”
What is Bohaag Bihu?
Bohaag Bihu is all about new clothes, good food, dance, singing. Young women and men dance to the tune of traditional dhol and pepa. Women are dressed in colourful traditional festive costumes especially those woven out of pure muga and the men are dressed in dhoti with gamuchas tied around their foreheads. The first day of Bohag Bihu is dedicated to cattle. Sweets are prepared for the cattle and they are smeared with mustard and haldi followed by a bath. Then they are released in the paddy fields. The second day is dedicated to people.
Different types of Bihu
In a year there are three Bihu festivals in Assam - in the months of April, it is Bohaag Bihu, in the month of January it is Maagh Bihu, and in the middle of October, it is Kaati bihu. Each Bihu coincides with a distinctive phase in the farming calendar.
However, the most important and colourful of the three Bihu festival is the Spring festival “Bohag Bihu” or Rongali Bihu celebrated in the middle of April. Rongali Bihu marks the beginning of the agricultural season.