Pune/Mumbai (Maharashtra), May 21 (ANI): Assamese communities in different parts of India are leaving no stone unturned to keep their ancient culture and traditions alive, and one of the mediums being used for this, is the harvest festival of Bihu.
India is a multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural country, and this diversity makes it so special. What makes the country even more amazing is how its people embrace this diversity without inhibition and with great joy.
Take the state of Maharashtra for instance. The Assamese community settled in various parts of the state, recently celebrated the Bihu festival.
Bihu denotes a set of three different cultural festivals of Assam.
Though it owes its origins to ancient rites and practices, it has of late acquired definite urban features and has become popular in both urban and commercialized milieus.
Folk songs and dances also are a key feature of the Bihu festival.
The word Bihu is derived from "Visuvan" that describes a number of festivals in India that are associated with the March Equinox.
In Assam, the Rongali Bihu draws from many different traditions such as Austro-Asiatic, Sino-Burmese and Indo-Aryan, and is celebrated with particular fervor.
Celebrations begin in the middle of April and generally continue for a month.
The other two Bihus are - Kongali Bihu, which is celebrated in October and is associated with the September Equinox, and the Bhogali Bihu in January, which is associated with the January Solstice.
All three Bihus' are associated with farming; as traditional Assamese society is predominantly dependent on farming.
The harvest festival of Assam marks the onset of the Assamese New Year and the coming of spring.
And, wherever Assamese people live, they celebrate Bihu with great enthusiasm.
The Assam Cultural Association in Pune observed Bihu recently with zest and fervour.
Hundreds turned up for the celebrations that provided an opportunity to sample the rich culture of Assam.
Utpal Burman, the president of the Assam Cultural Association in Pune, said: "Just like people of Maharashtra celebrate Gudi Puja to welcome the New Year, we celebrate Bihu. We are close to each other, and lot of Assamese people take part in the native festivals of Maharashtra."
Nayan, a member of the association, said: "The Bihu festival helps to bring the new generation back to its root culture. Being a Northeastern state, Assam, is also inclined towards a western culture and this has moved the new generation away from its roots. Bihu helps them look back at their culture."
Nripen Gogoi, the publicity secretary of the Assam Cultural Association, said: "Common people have never supported militancy. The youth who were misguided have come back and laid down their arms."
In Mumbai, special performers were invited to make the Bihu celebrations authentic and memorable.
Dipen Rajkumar, the general secretary of the Assam Association of Mumbai, said: "Our new generation who have been born and brought up in Bombay, is not aware of this traditional music and dance. So, this is the time when we can actually show them our cultural roots."
Uttara Deka, an Assamese dancer, said: "The younger generation does not like that (Assamese) form of dance. So, we need to teach them the traditional dance forms and to keep it alive. It is necessary to teach youngsters about it." (ANI)