People in Assam on Sunday ushered in Rongali Bihu, an agrarian festival, to the roll of drum beats though inflation has shot up to 7.41 per cent and prices of essential commodities have gone through the roof.
Keeping with the tradition of wearing new clothes on New Year's day on Monday, people thronged the markets to look for the cheapest and best deals, with some returning disappointed with the high prices.
Re-enactment of old fertility rites, the exuberance of youthful hearts and partaking of traditional delicacies are the hallmark of Rongali, with Bihu celebrations being observed 500 years since the rule of Ahom king Swargadeo Rudra Singha.
There were songs and dances to welcome the new year beginning from tomorrow.
Songs of Bihu are woven mostly around themes of love with young men singing their love to charming maidens whose beauty they celebrate through lyrics.
The Bihu festivities began on Sangkranti today with Goru Bihu (Bihu of cattle) when household animals are given a ritual bath.
Tomorrow is Manuh (people's) Bihu and new year's day which will be mainly devoted to ceremonies for the welfare of people and youngsters paying respects to elders with 'gamosas' (handwoven scarfs) to seek blessings for a fruitful year.
Besides the Assamese, various tribes in the state, too, celebrate Bihu. The Bodos observe it as Baisagu, Karbis as Johang Pula, Deoris as Bahagiya Bihu, Rabhas as Nava Barasa, Tiwas as Bisu and Tai Phakes as Pasni Bihu.
Assam celebrates three seasonal Bihus -- Rongali this month in the Assamese Bahag, Bhogali in January with harvesting and feasting and Kongali Bihu or lean Bihu in September.