GUWAHATI—11-04-2008 :( RONGALI BIHU CELEBRATION ON THE OCCASION OF ASSAMESE NEW YEAR IN GUWAHATI)
Boys and girls performing Bihu dance on the occasion of Rongali Bihu celebration in Guwahati on Sunday April 13, 2008. Rongali Bihu” is celebrated in the first month of the Assamese calendar which is starting from April 15 and thus marks the advent of the Assamese New Year. This festival also coincides with the advent of the spring season in the state. Bihu Dance and Bihu Songs are the main features of this Bihu, which continue for a month throughout the state. 
PHOTO: RITU_RAJ_KONWAR

Bihu denotes a set of three different cultural festivals of Assam and celebrated by the Assamese diaspora around the world. Though they own their origins to ancient rites and practices, and it has taken definite urban features and have become popular festivals in urban and commercialized milieus in the recent decades. Bihu is also used to imply Bihu dance and Bihu folk songs. The Rongali Bihu or the Bohag Bihu is an important festival of Assam. The most important festivals of Assam are the Bihus, celebrated with fun in abundance by all Assamese people irrespective of caste, creed, and belief.

In Assam, Rongali Bihu draws from many different traditions— Austro-Asiatic, Sino-Burmese and Indo-Aryan—and is celebrated with great fervor. Celebrations begin in the middle of April and generally continue for a month. This is the traditional new year. In addition there are two other Bihus: Kongali Bihu in October (associated with the September equinox) and Bhogali Bihu in January (associated with the January solstice). Like some other Indian festivals, Bihu (all three) is associated with farming; as the traditional Assamese society is predominantly agricultural. In fact, similar festivals are also celebrated around the same time elsewhere in India. Bihu is also celebrated overseas by the Assamese community living in different countries around the globe.

In a year there are three Bihu festivals in Assam – in the months of Bohaag (Baisakh, the middle of April), Maagh (the middle of January), and Kaati (Kartik, the middle of October). The Bihus have been celebrated in Assam since ancient times. Each Bihu coincides with a distinctive phase in the farming calendar. The most important and colourful of the three Bihu festival is the Spring festival “Bohag Bihu” or Rongali Bihu celebrated in the middle of April. This is also the beginning of the agricultural season. Bihu is celebrated in all parts of Assam and by people belonging to all castes and religions. Bihu is a secular festival which brings in humanity, peace and brotherhood among the people of various tribes, castes and religions of the region.

Bihu is also seen to be celebrated abroad. Many Bihu associations / committees exist elsewhere where this festival is celebrated with enthusiasm. The London Bihu Committee (LBC), UK is one of them amongst others.