GUWAHATI, April 15 – Bohag Bihu – the biggest festival of the Assamese and an occasion for merrymaking – is being celebrated in a befitting manner across the State since Friday.
Tonight’s celebrations in the city as also in some other parts of the State, however, were marred by a strong wind accompanied by rain that started around 7 pm.
The city also wore a joyous look since Friday, as people descended on the hundred-odd Bihutolis (Bihu pandals) in their hordes to be part of the infectious festive mood.
Spiralling rise in the prices of essential commodities – particularly foodstuff – did cast a shadow over the festivities for a big segment of the populace belonging to the lower middle class which is finding it increasingly difficult to cope with the situation.
Showers on Bihu eve provided a much-needed respite for the citizens and lent a
refreshing touch to the atmosphere after the dry and dusty Fagun days. The temperature remained pleasant throughout the Bihu days, buoying the people’s enthusiasm for the occasion.
The first day of the festivities, i.e. Goru Bihu – an occasion dedicated to the cow which is intrinsically linked to the State’s agrarian economy and rural life – was marked by the ritual of garlanding of the cows with wreaths of vegetables, after which the animals are taken to waterbodies for a good bath.
People also beat the animals with dighalati leaves (a medicinal plant) to ward off fleas and insects and sing lao kha bengena kha, basare basare barhi ja (eat bottle gourd and brinjal and be a robust animal). Perhaps few other cultures boast of such a unique bond of love and affection between the cow and its owner as exemplified by the occasion.
The second day, i.e., Manuh Bihu, accords thrust on merry-making, revelry, and the general Bihu celebrations. The day begins with the young seeking the blessings of the elders in the morning. Hussori troupes visit households, especially in the rural areas, and present Bihu song and dance performances.
Colourful Bihu functions also start, which continue for several days. The day is also spent in visiting relatives and friends.
In the city, over a hundred community Bihutolis played host to the celebrations, reverberating with the joyous Bihu spirit with three/four-day programmes.
Apart from the regular Bihu song and dance, and Hussori competitions, the organisers roped in reputed artistes to perform in the functions. The events during daytime include sports and literary contests among children.
The widely-participated Mukoli Bihu organized by the All Guwahati Students’ Union (AGSU) at the Judges’ Field attracted a large carefree crowd on Friday morning.
Among the Bihutolis drawing massive crowds included Guwahati Bihu Sanmilani, Pub-Guwahati Bihu Sanmilan (Chandmari), Dakshin-Pub Bihu Sanmilan (Rajgarh), Paschim Guwahati Bihu Sanmilan, Khanapara Bihutoli, Noonmati Bihu Sanmilan, Kharghuli Rangali Bihu Sanmilan, Geetanagar Bihu Sanmilan and Beltola Bihutoli, Madhya Pub Guwahati Bihu Sanmilan (Navagrah Kali Mandir).
Bihu celebrations were also telecast on the web by many of the organisers.