People of Assam are all geared up to celebrate the much-awaited Rongali or Bohag Bihu that begins tomorrow. Preparations for the festival have reached the zenith with the Assamese community irrespective of caste, creed and religion all set to celebrate Bihu with traditional fervour and gaiety and welcome the Assamese New Year.

Womenfolk, meanwhile, are busy preparing ‘pithas’, ‘larus’ and other Bihu delicacies while in towns and cities, packaged Bihu items have flooded markets ahead of the festival.

The sounds of the ‘dhol’, ‘pepa’ and ‘gogona’ have been reverberating in the air as bihu ‘Husori’ troupes are rehearsing for their door-to-door performances. Singers and artistes, too, are making last-minute rehearsals for stage performances.

The festivities will formally begin with ‘Goru Bihu’ tomorrow when people take their cattle to ponds, rivers and other water bodies for the customary bath, smearing them with ‘maah-halodhi’. After the customary bath, the cattle will be tied with new ropes and whipped lightly with ‘Dighloti and Makhioti’ twigs as per the customary rituals.

Manuh Bihu will be celebrated on Sunday, the first day of the month of Bohag. People will wake up and take a bath, smearing themselves with ‘maah-halodhi’, adorn new clothes and seek blessings from their elders. A sumptuous ‘jalpan’, a light breakfast with sticky rice savoured along with curd and jiggery, follows next. Various programmes that also include traditional games are also held in various places.

Meanwhile, shops are market places are chock-a-block with people who are making their last-minute purchases.

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