Bihus, the major festivals of Assam, are celebrated with great jest and zeal and the spirit of the people is at an all time high with the whole state coming together to make merry. It is a unique festival because it surpasses the barriers of caste, religion and class and people from all strata of life gather together to celebrate this colorful event. There are three types of Bihu which take place in Assam, namely, Bhogali Bihu, Rongali Bihu and Kongali Bihu. All the three Bihus are celebrated at different phases of the life cycle of paddy crop. The first Bihu, which is the Rongali Bihu, is celebrated during the month of April and denotes the sowing season of the rice crop. The second one, which is Kongali Bihu, also known as Kati Bahu, signifies the season of relocation of the rice saplings. During this festival, the granaries of the farmers are empty, and so the name 'Kongali', which means poverty. The last one, which is Bhogali Bihu, is celebrated during the month of January and it marks the harvesting season of the paddy crops.
Importance of Kati Bihu
Each Bihu is significant in its own unique manner. The first Bihu, the Rongali Bihu, signifies the beginning of the New Year along with the arrival of spring season. The Second Bihu, which is the Kati Bihu or Kongali Bihu, signifies the relocation of the rice crop, which is an important phase in the life of the paddy crop. Hence, the farmers light lamps at the foot of the Tulsi plant at their home and whirl a piece of bamboo in the fields and recite rowa-khowa chants to ward off the evil spirits and the pests. This day is also considered auspicious because it is believed that the spirits of the ancestors visit to give blessings, and so the Assamese peasants light lamps called Akaxbonti on top of bamboo sticks to show these spirits the path to heaven.
Though now a day this festival is celebrated in quite a different fashion than the earlier times, its core values remain intact. Like the Bihu dance is performed at all the Bihu festivals, even though Kati Bihu is more about penance and worship. Still this festival is celebrated with lot of vigor and enthusiasm.