Bohag Bihu marks the celebration of the beginning of the spring season and usually falls in the second week of April. The festival signifies the time of harvest. Assamese traditionally celebrate Bihu thrice a year that signifies different seasons - Bohag Bihu, Bhogali Bihu and Kongali Bihu.
The festival is observed in Bengal, Manipur, Punjab, Nepal, Orissa, Kerela and Tamil Nadu through different names. On this day, farmers’ community thank the almighty for a good harvest throughout the year and hope for a successful harvest in the future too.
The first day of the bihu is called goru bihu or cow bihu, where the cows are washed and worshipped, which falls on the last day of the previous year, usually on 14 April. This is followed by manuh (human) bihu on 15 April, the New Year Day. This is the day of getting cleaned up, wearing new cloths and celebrating and getting ready for the new year with fresh vigor. The third day is Gosai (Gods) bihu; statues of Gods, worshiped in all households are cleaned and worshiped asking for a smooth new year.
The New Year starts with Bohag or Rongali Bihu. The word ‘Rangoli’ is derived from the word ‘Rong’ which means happiness and celebrations. On the eve of Bihu, women prepare Bihu delicacies such as Chira, Pitha, laru, among others.
The festival brings in singing and feasting and traditional Bihu dance is performed by men and women.
The day starts with people taking bath with raw turmeric and urad dal paste on the day of Goru Bihu. Then, they wear new clothes and seek blessings from their elders and exchange gifts. This is followed up by light breakfast where sticky rice is served with curd and jaggery.
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