Rongali Bohag Bihu 2022: History, Significance and Celebrations of Assamese New Year
Bohag Bihu or Rongali Bihu is a harvest festival celebrated in Assama andit marks the end of the harvesting season in the region. Bihu is observed on the first day of Magh month as per Bengali Panjika. Magh Bihu is the Assam celebration of Sankranti and the celebrations last for a week. The festival of Magh Bihu is dedicated to Agni, the Lord of Fire. However in the rest of India the festival of Sankranti is dedicated to Surya, the Sun Lord.
The festival is celebrated with great joy and fervour in Assam and elsewhere in Northeastern India by the members of the Assamese community. This year, Bohag Bihu is being celebrated on April 14. Bihu is synonym of feasts and bonfires which begin one day before of Bihu. The day preceding Bihu is known as Uruka which is the last day of Poush month as per Assamese calendar.
Uruka day people erect makeshift huts, known as Meji, from bamboo, leaves and thatch. The food for feasting is prepared inside Meji and a community feast is held on the Uruka night. The Meji is burned the next morning and the ashes are scattered on the farmlands to increase fertility.
With barely three days left for Rongali Bihu — the biggest festival of Assam — the Bihu committees are leaving no stone unturned to present big-budget shows after Covid-marred celebrations in the last two years. The Pub Guwahati Bihu Sanmilani (PGBS) at Chandmari is set to entertain the audiences with stage Bihu and earmarked a budget of around Rs 40 lakh. Most of the Bihu committees in greater Guwahati have a budget of Rs 25 lakh to 40 lakh, with an estimated 20% to 35% rise in pandal cost, labour charges and related costs post-pandemic.
While Bihu Samragyi – the Bihu empress – crowned by the organisers of the 71-year-old Guwahati Bihu Sanmilani at the historic Latasil ground here remains one of the prime attractions of stage Bihu.
Many of the rural Bihu committees are relieved this year after getting Rs 1.5 lakh as financial assistance given by the state government which is over 10 years old. The amount hardly made an impact on the big-budget Bihus, organisers said.