NAHRLAGUN ( By Pradeep Kumar )- Bihu geet rented the air from Kristi Kendra here on Wednesday as young and old Assamese living in this state celebrated Rongali or Bohag Bihu with great religious fervor by performing Bihu Naas to welcome spring.
Highlighting the relevance of the festival Kristi Kenda vice president Bipul Kalita said that Bihu celebration was introduced by Ahom king Swargadeo Rudra Singha 500 years ago to welcome New Year, woven mostly around themes of love with young men singing to charming maidens whose beauty they celebrate through the lyrics.
The British rulers had shattered the Assamese society, but Bihu festival unites the people in one platform, he said and recalled the invaluable contributions of Dr Bhupen Hazariaka for giving global identity to Assamese people and their rich culture. Praying for good health and prosperity of one and all, he said the festival aims at welfare of the humanity before the Bihu dance started.
The Kristi Kendra set up here in 1974 has been serving as a cultural bridge between peoples of both states, said general secretary Rahul Dutta, adding a new trend of felicitating senior women was introduced today.
Bihu coincides with Assamese New Year and known as Mopin (in Arunachal Pradesh), Shad Suk Mynsiem (Meghalaya), Aoling (Nagaland), Pana Sankranti (Odisha), Naba Barsha (West Bengal), Baisakhi (Punjab), Puthandu or Chithirai (Tamil Nadu), Tulip (Kashmir), Kadammanitta Padayani (Kerala), Urs (Ajmer), Pooram (Kollam), Sankat Mochan Music Festival (Varanasi) and Easter (across India).
Bihu associated with agriculture is a unique festival as Bohag or Magh Bihu in January marks sowing of seeds, Kongali or Kati Bihu in October worship of plants and crops to protect them from natural calamities, Bhogali or Kongali Bihu in January marks the harvest while Rongali or Bohag Bihu in April with feasts, music and dances to welcome spring.
Kopou phool ( flower ), Assam’s official flower, is inseparable from Bihu celebrations, blossoms in spring. Young damsels dance with this flower intricately woven in Assamese cultural fabric tagged on their buns to spread its fragrance and a wave of divine love to draw young souls to justify its name.
Bihu festivals following Hindu and Buddhist calendars with reverence for Krishna, cattle (Goru Bihu), elders in family, fertility and mother goddess, but the celebrations and rituals reflect influences from South-East Asia and Sino-Tibetan cultures. In contemporary times, these festivals are celebrated by all Assamese irrespective of religion, caste or creed. Thus, it is celebrated overseas by Assamese diaspora community living worldwide.