Guwahati, Sunday, April 14, 2013
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Rongali Bihu spirit grips Dibrugarh
STAFF correspondent
 DIBRUGARH, April 13 – The popular Rongali Bihu festivities have already soaked the greater Assamese community here even before the onset of the Bohag month. As thousands throng shopping arcades and garment stores, many enthusiasts are getting ready for the Assamese New Year revelry with hussori rehearsals for stage performances.

Traditional Assamese food like the til pitha, til ladu, chira, akhoi, muri, doi, pitha, gur, hando guri, narikol pitha, narikol ladu, otenga, posola, amroli, pani tenga, kumol chaol, bora chaol, bet gos, poka mithoi, etc., are also on offer at almost all cafeterias, confectioneries, bakery kiosks and restaurants here. Rural vendors are also doing brisk business on the roadsides, selling these foodstuffs to the people.

Renu Phukan, general secretary of the North East Women Entrepreneurs’ Association, said that she was delighted to see Assamese foodstuffs, clothing, gamochas and other woven materials flooding the market. “It is an encouraging aspect of our society that our culture and life is being exposed in the market. People ought to know our rich culture and revered traditions,” she underlined.

Rongali Bihu is all about life and culture of the Assamese community. Merry-making by feasting, dancing, wearing new clothes, visiting friends and relatives, get-togethers, offering of gifts to near and dear ones are the basic activities of Rongali Bihu. Women are draped in festive clothes woven out of muga or dressed in mekhela chadar and men are dressed in dhotis with gamochas tied round their heads.

The festival will begin with Goru Bihu on April 14 when cattle will be bathed and offered vegetables, home-made sweets and pithas. The cattle will also be smeared with mustard oil and haldi in mostly rural areas. Traditional food items like chira, akhoi, doi, ladu, etc., will be taken as jalpan (breakfast) on the first day. Several Assamese families take poita bhath (cooked rice soaked in water overnight) with as many as 101 types of vegetables on the Goru Bihu day, according to Renu Phukan. The following day, on April 15, is the Assamese New Year which is dedicated to people. The New Year is the onset of the Bohag month for the Assamese community.

Hussori, which is an integral part of the festival, is a house-to-house dance performed by groups of Bihu revellers with dhols, flutes, pepas, etc. Hussori is performed throughout the Bohag month. Women dancers are expected to wear ornaments like gam kharu, thuria, maduli, kerumoni, etc.

The local media fraternity also organises hussoris in the houses of local media persons here. Besides staged Bihu functions, fairs and expos, where traditional handlooms and crafts get exhibited and sold, have also become part of the Bihu festival. But the city here has not hosted any fairs or expos this year. Leading organisations and clubs like the All Assam Students’ Union, Jeotimorol Sangha, Milanjyoti Sangha, Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba-Chatra Parishad and several others hold stage Bihu functions at different places annually.

For local MLA Prasanta Phukan, Bohag Bihu is the most important festival because it marks the beginning of the New Year and start of the traditional agricultural activities. “This is the first festival in the Assamese calendar and holds great importance because it is totally associated with the lifestyle and culture of the Assamese community,” he said. Phukan also extended his Bihu greetings to the people with the hope that the festival will generate peace, love and understanding among all races, tribes, religions and communities.

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