Rongali Bihu, also known as Bohag Bihu, is the most important of all the three Bihu festivals of Assam and marks the onset of the Assamese New Year, the spring season, and the new harvest season for the agrarian community. It falls in the mid of the month of April, generally around 15th April and is celebrated with much joy and enthusiasm. It is equivalent to the festivals like Ugadi, Gudi Padwa, etc. that are celebrated all around India and marks the first day of the Hindu New Year. With a combination of standard customs and some unique tribe based traditions, the streets and communities of Assam pop out with the crowd immersed in festivities. Moreover, Rongali Bihu is celebrated over a period of few days than just one and there's never too much of the celebrations and the festive spirit.
When is Rongali Bihu
The first day is called Goru Bihu, on which cows are washed and smeared with ground turmeric and are worshipped. It usually falls on the 14th of April. On the next day, known as Manuh Bihu, respect is shown to the elders with gifts such as bihuwan (gamosa - a traditional Assamese hand woven cotton towel), a hachoti (kerchief), and cheleng etc. On the next day known as Husori, the village elders move from one household to another, singing Bihu geets and performing ring dances, at the end of which they bless the household for the coming year and move on to the next house. At the end of each performance, people are thanked with an offering of paan (betel leaf) and tamul (areka nut) in a xorai (brass dish with stand).
Fat Bihu is then celebrated on the next day and is probably the oldest form of Bihu. It is more popular in the Lakhimpur area of Assam and is celebrated with much spontaneity. On the fourth day comes Beshma Bihu, which is celebrated by the Kochas with merrymaking and feasting. The fifth day is Mukoli Bihu, whereby young unmarried men and women attire in traditional golden silk Muga and perform the Bihu dances to Bihu songs in the open fields. Themes of romance and sexual love, requited or unrequited, run through these Bihu songs and young women, through sensuous movements of hips, arms, etc call out and celebrate their fertility. It's for this reason that the dance is also called a mating ritual for the young men and women. Jeng Bihu, Baisago, and Bihutoli Bihu follow next. Also during the celebration period, community feasting on many dishes and sweets, traditional ones being Pitha Larus and Jolpan also continue with great fanfare. In 2017, Rongali Bihu falls on Thursday Apr 13 ~ Monday, Apr 17, 2017.
Rongali Bihu in 2017: Thursday Apr 13 ~ Monday, Apr 17, 2017