Assam celebrates Bihu with traditional extravaganza

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Guwahati, Apr 26 (ANI): The hills and valleys of Assam come alive with the sound of Bihu thrice a year, which is much more than just a festival for the people of the state.

Rongali Bihu celebrations mark the onset of the New Year.

It is the time when farmers sow new seeds and offer prayers for a prosperous year ahead.

The Assamese people dress up in bright clothes and sing and dance in joy during Bihu, a festival which brings them close to their cultural roots.

And the gradual return of peace and normalcy has certainly given a boost to the festive spirit.

"Through Bihu we are trying to spread the message of peace and unity among all residing states of the Country. That's why we have invited cultural groups of all seven states of northeast.

The vibrant dance not just enthralls locals, but foreign tourists as well," said Dilip Das. organizer, Bihu celebration

"In the month of Chaitre and Bahar, we celebrate Assamese Bihu from the month of April. And we celebrate Rongali Bihu, in the last day of the month of Chaitra. We welcome this New Year, with traditional and cultural fun and fare," said Sanjiv Lahkar, Assam.

The first day of Rongali Bihu is known as Garu Bihu. During the festival farmers wash, feed and worship their bulls and cows as a sign of respect and gratitude for the service provided by the cattle.

On the second day of Bihu, better known as Manush Bihu, people wear new clothes and feast at relatives or friends place and visitors are served rice beer.

The festival continues for 7 days.

"Since the time of our forefathers, we have been following this practice. We offer groundnuts, brinjal, cucumber, and turmeric to the cows and bulls. We pray for their good health and long life. We (villagers) give the cattle a bath as a sign of respect and gratitude for their service to us," said Prabha Chandra Saikia, a farmer.

"Bihu is one of the biggest festivals for us (Assamese). We are enjoying Bihu by playing drums and other instruments," said Ankur Bora, Assam.

Foreigners also enjoyed participating in the Bihu celebrations.

"I have come here today so that I would learn more about Assam, so that we build friendship much closer to Assam and I have discovered a wonderful celebration and a wonderful people. Hope next year more Americans will come and help you in celebrating Bihu," said Beth A. Payne, a visitor from USA.

Bihu promotes brotherhood and spreads the message of peace and harmony among all. By Peter Alex Todd (ANI)

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