GUWAHATI, April 13 - The people of the State are all ready to celebrate the Bohag or Rongali Bihu, the biggest festival of Assam that transcends creed and community in the spontaneity and gaiety of the festivities.
Ahead of the festival, the State has witnessed several spells of showers, making the weather pleasant and providing the much-needed respite from the engulfing dust. Now the people are eager to welcome the Assamese New Year ushered in by the Rongali Bihu.
Even the spiralling rise in the prices of essential commodities, particularly foodstuffs, has failed to dampen the festive spirit as people have started thronging the markets in hordes to buy Bihu delicacies, gifts and new clothes.
The typical Bihu ambience finds the best expression in rural Assam where the occasion is celebrated in full mirth and vigour over verdant and colourful natural landscapes.
Tomorrow being Goru Bihu – the first day of the Bohag Bihu – rural folks have made preparations to showcase the deep bond between man and animal. At the crack of dawn, cattle owners will garland their animals with wreaths of vegetables and smear them with a paste of turmeric and black gram. The cattle will be given a good bath in ponds and rivers in accordance with time-tested traditions, with the owners praying for the longevity and good health of their livestock.
The second day – called the Manuh Bihu (People’s Bihu) – will be marked by merrymaking and general Bihu celebrations. The day will begin with the young seeking the blessings of their elders. The senior family members will visit the namghars (community prayer halls) and offer prayers for a prosperous year. Hussori troupes will visit households, especially in villages, and
perform Bihu songs and dances. Colourful Bihu functions will also get under way, which will continue for several days. The day is also spent in visiting relatives and friends.
Meanwhile, along with the rest of the State, the capital city is also gearing up to celebrate the Bohag Bihu in the best possible manner.
Hundreds of bihutolis (community Bihu pandals) have sprung up at various localities here. In the urban landscape, the Bihu spirit is best witnessed in the pandals which reverberate with the joyous Bihu spirit with programmes that generally last three to four days. While Bihu songs, dances and hussori competitions are routine, the organisers also rope in reputed artistes to perform in cultural functions. The events also include sports and literary contests for children.