The people of Assam on Saturday started celebrating Rongali Bihu to mark the beginning of the Assamese New Year amidst traditional fervour and great enthusiasm.

People celebrated the first day of the seven-day long festival as ‘Goru Bihu’. People took their cattle to a nearby fishery, pond, rivers and other water bodies for the customary bath, smearing them with ‘maah-halodhi’. After the customary bath, the cattle were tied with new ropes and whipped lightly with ‘Dighloti and Makhioti’ twigs as per the customary rituals. They also recite some hymns praying for the good health of the animal.

The second day of the festival, which is today, falls on the first day of the new Assamese Calendar month of Bohag and is known as Manuh Bihu. People took bath and adorned new clothes today and sing and dance to enjoy.

Younger people visited elders in the family and sought their blessings. Elders gave Bihuwan or Gamocha and blessed the younger ones for good health and prosperity. A sumptuous ‘jalpan’, a light breakfast with sticky rice savoured along with curd and jiggery, follows next.

Although the Bohag Bihu or Rongali Bihu is a week-long festival, the celebration continues for the whole of the month and beyond with people organising different cultural programmes and functions in different parts of the state.

Conveying his greetings, Assam Governor Prof. Jagdish Mukhi said, “Let this Bihu which marks the advent of Assamese New Year be a harbinger of a new dawn of warm and harmonious relationship and peace, prosperity and progress in the state.” The Governor expressed hope that the celebrations of Rongali Bihu reinforce love and goodwill among all sections of the people and strengthen the bond of unity and bonhomie among them. “Let this Rongali Bihu and the Assamese New Year be a reason for the people of Assam to take a pledge for a ‘Swachh Bharat’ and ‘Swachh Assam’,” he added.

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