By Pinaki Das
Agartala, Apr 14 : Hundreds of Chakma tribal youth, dressed in their traditional attire, are participating in the Bizhu festival here. Bizhu is the most important socio-religious festival of the Chakmas. This three-day festival is signified by the Bizhu dance, which welcomes the new year.
"We are organizing this festival to keep alive the Bizhu-centric Chakma rituals and customs," said Niranjan Chakma, an organiser.
Beginning on before the last day of Bengali calendar year, Bizhu lasts for three days. The first day is known as Phool Bizhu. On this day, household items, clothes are cleaned and washed, food items are collected to give the house a now look with the veil of different flowers.
The second day known as 'Mull Bizhu' day starts with the bath in the river. People wear new clothes and make rounds of the village. They also enjoy specially made vegetable curry, different homemade sweets and take part in different traditional sports. The day ends with the Bizhu dance.
The last day, which is known as 'Gojjepojje din' involves the performances of different socio-religious activities. "Through this festival, we welcome the new year. By it, we can let our youthsnow about our tradition," said Soma Dewan a participant.
The Bizhu festival originally used to be celebrated for fortnight. However, for financial reasons or changing social scene, it now ends in three days.
Bizhu is a festival, which revolves around agricultural activities and is celebrated in mid-April when the earth is just drenched with the first rain and the jhum sowing is taken up.
It is believed that with the objective of getting rich harvest worship of the earth was arranged which took the form of a festival.