Bihu or Bohag Bihu is the biggest festival of the people of Assam. It is a festival that transcends all religious and class barriers bringing people together in a free and uninhabited manner. The Assamese observe not one but three Bihus.
Bohag Bihu, which is celebrated in mid-April, the Magh Bihu, which is held in mid-January, and the Kati Bihu which is celebrated in mid-October. The three are connected with the spring, winter and autumn seasons respectively.
Bihu is the biggest festival of the people of the Assam region. This is truly a regional festival, which brings a sense of solidarity and unity among the people of the Assam region. It comes thrice a year and marks the changes in the seasons.
The first of the "Bihus" falls on "Chait Sankranthi" (mid-April). It is called Bohag Bihu or Rangoli bihu. In fact bihu is a festival to celebrate fertility. Rangoli Bihu is the most festive and joyful of all the Bihus.The Rangoli Bihu is a Spring, New Year and agriculture festival, all rolled into one.
The first day of Bohag Bihu is known as Gori Bihu and is reserved for cattle rites. Household cattle get special attention and they are decorated with colorful garlands of flowers and given good food.Household is cleaned, the cows feet are washed, oil rubbed on their horns and hooves and some times they are decorated with garlands.
The next day is called "Manuh Bihu". Paying homage to elders, relatives and friends is customary on that day. The Bihu meal is a special one consisting of Chira, curds and sweets.
The next day is "Gosain Bihu", which is reserved for religious services. The seventh day has the people preparing seven types of leafy vegetables called "SatSak ". Games and sports are also a necessary part of the Bihu celebrations.
The last of the Bihus is the "Kati Bihu" which is a one-day celebration. It falls around October- November, when the paddy crops are yet to mature and the granaries are almost empty. Hence it is called "Kangali" or Poor Bihu.Naturally there is no feasting on this day. Special Tulsi Pujas are held on this day.
Games and sports, special Bihu songs and dances, Fairs etc are a part of the Bihu celebrations. These Bihu songs are beautiful specimens of folk poetry set to lilting music and swinging rhythm. The Bihu dance is a vigorous, captivating dance reflecting the spirit of youth and vitality.