Today marks the auspicious day of Kongali Bihu, also called Kati Bihu in Assam. Kati Bihu is one of the three Bihu festivals of Assam which is celebrated midway in October and the celebration is quiet and less celebratory when compared with the other two Bihu festivals.
Assam is all set to celebrate the Kati Bihu as a huge crowd of people can be seen in the daily markets buying the essentials of the Bihu like Coconut, Tulsi Plant, Diyas, and other ingredients for Prasad.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted a Kati Bihu wish on his Twitter handle and wished for the prosperity of the Assamese people.
Kati Bihu is observed on the first calendar day of ‘Kati’ month in the Assamese calendar. The name “kongali” means poor indicating barns are empty and there is limited availability of food. At this time of the year, paddy grows in field and farmers pray to God for a good harvest.
On this auspicious day, women of Assam prays to Goddess Laxmi who is known to bring prosperity at home. Diyas, candles, or lamps are lighted in the evening and placed at various places including paddy fields and underneath the holy Tulsi plant which is the most sacred plant in Hindus.
According to the sayings, the lamps lit in paddy fields are kept high on bamboos so that insects fall prey to these lamps keeping the crops healthy. These lamps on bamboo are also referred to as “Akaxbonti” in Assamese. Lighting lamps on high bamboos also has the superstition belief that states – showing the path of heaven to the spirits of ancestors who have come to give their blessings.
The significance of Kati Bihu lies in offering prayers to God for a good harvest. This is the only Bihu where cultivators think about the practical reality. They are concerned about the rice sapling harvest since a good harvest will bring prosperity to the home. Kati Bihu has typically more religious values as it entirely revolves around offering prayers in various forms.