LAKHIMPUR: The masses in Lakhimpur are all set to celebrate Rongali Bihu following the COVID-19 protocols.
However, this year, the masses will have to celebrate the festival, which has been termed as the 'lifeline of the Assamese community' by Bharat Ratna Sudhakantha Dr Bhupen Hazarika, amid strict adherence to COVID-19 protocol.
Last year, the people could not celebrate Rongali Bihu due to the adverse situation caused by the pandemic and consequent lockdown that was subsequently enforced to contain the pandemic contagion.
This year too, the second surge of the pandemic has impacted the enthusiasm of the people and outshined the festive mood. Most of the people and families in the district are seen avoiding thronging the market places. However, amid such a situation, the people have collected the required items for the traditional Bihu cuisines, purchased new attires and the village women have woven out the Bihuwan to present to their near and dear ones on the occasion of the festival.
Various organizations and Bihu committees of the district have undertaken due arrangements for celebration of Bihu by organizing various events in different days of the upcoming month.
THE FESTIVAL OF SPRING: Coming of spring heralds the rejuvenation of nature from hibernation. The season symbolizes love, hope, youth and growth.
The seasonal symbolism for this period may also allude to religious celebrations. For believers, spring is a reminder that God is all about making things new. Spiritually, spring represents an awakening, many images and symbols of which speak of our rejuvenation, our coming out of winter's hibernation with energy and enthusiasm for what comes next.
Spring brings along beauty, warmth, vibrancy, and cheerfulness. There is always a feast of green beauty all around. Tall trees stand majestically hugging each other making a green canopy of leaves. Flowers of myriad colors bloom everywhere. The winter buds on the trees break open, and the leaves start to grow. The plant is stimulated with the showery weather giving them the water they need. It is the season for the farmers to dream about the golden harvest of the year.
With the arrival of the lusty season, with these creative phenomena of nature, amid the melodious songs of kuli (cuckoo) and keteki (Ceylon hawk cuckoo), the Assamese community in Lakhimpur, along with the State, is all set to celebrate Bohag Bihu or Rangali Bihu, which is also called Xaat Bihu, from Wednesday.
From this day onwards, seven days will be filled with the blended notes of Bihu naam with dance forms, along with the blended notes of the traditional-musical instruments like dhol, pepa, gagana, sutuli, on the occasion of the agriculture related community festival which unites the different native communities of the State regardless of their backgrounds, castes and creeds, religions and languages.
On Tuesday, being the Uruka (eve) of the Bihu, the village women will be busy in preparation of the traditional cuisines, like various kinds of pitha (cakes) and jalpan (snacks). On Wednesday, Goru Bihu will be celebrated as the first day of Rongali Bihu. This day of Rongali Bihu is dedicated to the caring upkeep of livestock. Typically, the collective cattle of a village are brought to a water source like a pond or a river.
The cattle are bathed with a combination of symbolic herbs: maah-halodhi (black gram and turmeric paste), whipped with dighloti (litsea salicifolia, a plant with long leaf), makhioti (flemingia strobilifera), tonglati (a plant with flower like soft plastic butter-fly) and pieces of lau (bottle gourd) and bengena (brinjal), by singing some traditional songs.
From this day, farmers get ready for cultivation in the upcoming rainy season. In the evening, the villagers will start performing husori at each and every household wishing for the peace, prosperity of the family members. This tradition of conducting husori as well as mukoli Bihu will go on for the next six days.
The main Bihu or the 'Manuh Bihu', with due fun and festivities along with traditional formalities, will be celebrated on Thursday, The day, with the first day of the month of Bohag, will mark the beginning of the new year of Assamese calendar (1943 Saka). This day is the day of getting blessings from the elders and the Almighty for healthy and prosperous life without any kind of ailments, natural disasters. This festivities also involve the tradition of seeking blessings from the elders in a family and presenting the ceremonial patch of Bihuwan or gamosa.
The next five days, which are also known by some special names, will be observed following the stipulated traditions with the due fun and festivities.