Bohag Bihu 2024: Date, history, significance, celebration and all you need to know about Assamese New Year - Hindustan Times

Bohag Bihu 2024: Date, history, significance, celebration and all you need to know about Assamese New Year

By, New Delhi
Apr 13, 2024 01:08 PM IST

Bohag Bihu, the festival of joy and abundance, is celebrated over 7 days with great enthusiasm in Assam. From date to history, here's all you need to know.

Bohag Bihu, also known as Rongali Bihu or Xaat Bihu, is a traditional cultural festival observed in the northeastern state of Assam and various other regions of Northeastern India. Celebrated by the indigenous ethnic groups of Assam, it signifies the commencement of the Assamese New Year. Bihu is a tri-annual festival, with Bohag Bihu marking the onset of the seeding season, typically falling in the second week of April annually. The other two Bihu festivals, Kati Bihu and Magh Bihu are celebrated in October and January, respectively. The term "Rong" translates to joy in Assamese, and Rongali Bihu embodies this spirit of joy and happiness as the Assamese community joyously commemorates each day of the festival with fervour and enthusiasm. From date to history, scroll down to know more. (Also read: Vishu 2024: What is Vishu Kani? Why is it an integral part of Vishu celebrations? )

Bohag Bihu, also known as Rongali Bihu, marks the beginning of the Assamese New Year. (Freepik)
Bohag Bihu, also known as Rongali Bihu, marks the beginning of the Assamese New Year. (Freepik)

When is Bohag Bihu 2024

This year Bohag Bihu will be celebrated with much pomp and enthusiasm on Sunday, April 14. The festival spans across seven days, each day holding its unique significance, rituals, and customs.

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All about the seven days of Bohag Bihu

During Garu Bihu, the first day, cattle are honoured with a special ritual. People lead their livestock to the rivers, where they are bathed, and adorned with garlands, and their horns and hooves are painted. This is accompanied by heartfelt prayers for their health and well-being. Following this, Manuh Bihu, the second day, starts with an early morning tradition of applying turmeric paste and taking a purifying bath.

As the day progresses, homes are filled with the aroma of traditional Assamese delicacies such as Til Laru, Pitha, Murir Laru, Ghila Pitha, and Poka Mithoi, shared amongst family and friends as gestures of goodwill. Guxai Bihu, on the third day, is dedicated to the reverence of household deities, seeking their blessings for prosperity and harmony. Taator Bihu, the fourth day, shines a light on the importance of handlooms and craftsmanship, symbolizing the cultural heritage deeply rooted in Assamese society.

Nangolor Bihu, on the fifth day, pays tribute to the essential farm equipment vital for agricultural sustenance. GharosiaJibar Bihu, observed on the sixth day, extends gratitude towards domestic animals, recognizing their invaluable contribution to rural life. Finally, Chera Bihu, the grand culmination, is celebrated with unmatched enthusiasm, marking the conclusion of this vibrant festival, where communities come together in joyous revelry.

History of Bohag Bihu

Bohag Bihu traces its origins back to ancient times when it was revered as a fertility festival, heralding the advent of spring. Rooted deeply in Assam's agricultural heritage, the festival is intricately linked with the cycles of harvest. Celebrated primarily as an agrarian festival, Bohag Bihu marks the onset of the Assamese New Year and the eagerly anticipated arrival of spring, a pivotal time for the farming community.

Bohag Bihu significance

Bohag Bihu, heralding the onset of the seeding season, is a vibrant celebration deeply rooted in Assamese culture. During the festivities, traditional musical instruments such as dhol, pepa, gogona, toka, and taal fill the air with melodious tunes, accompanying the spirited dances of young men and women. While Bohag Bihu holds special significance in Assam, similar spring harvest festivals are celebrated across India.

In states like Punjab, it is known as Baisakhi, in Tamil Nadu as Puthandu, in Kerala as Vishu, and in West Bengal as Pohela Baisakh. Despite regional variations in traditions, the essence of these festivals, celebrating the arrival of spring and the abundance of the harvest season, unites people across the country in joyous festivities.

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