FESTIVALS OF ASSAM & MANIPUR
Assam and Manipur, the North Eastern states of India, are home to several regional festivals, displaying local colours with unifying cultural Hindu (Indian) ethos. The Assamese observe three Bihus or festivals. The Bohag Bihu, the Magh Bihu and the Kati Bihu coincide with the Spring, Winter and Autumn seasons respectively. The 'Bohag Bihu', the Spring New Year marks the beginning of agricultural operations. The 'Magh Bihu' is a harvest festival celebrated in winter. The 'Kati Bihu' held in October November involves the worship of the 'Tulsi' plant in the house courtyard. The Assamese celebrate their New Year, Goru and Rangoli Bihu, as a cattle festival.
Bhogali Bihu (January): Bhogali Bihu is an Assamese harvest festival. After women have harvested the winter paddy, thatched pavilion are set up in every village, and young men spend the night feasting. According to the custom of the festival, the pavilions are set ablaze early next morning. This is the signal for the festivities to begin. Buffalo fights are major attractions.
Goru & Rongali Bihu (April/May): The Goru Bihu or the cattle festival is celebrated on the Hindu New Year's Day. Cattle are washed and decorated. They are smeared with turmeric and are treated to gur (jiggery) and brinjals. On the occasion of the Rongali Bihu, Assamese girl try to outrival one another in weaving beautiful scarves for presentation to the men of their choice. The boys look for the loveliest kopow (dove) orchid to present to the belles. Theses gay scarves and orchid add colour to the dance that follow.
Ras Lila (October/November): Graceful dance of Manipur, the birthplace of the famous Manipuri dance, enact scenes from the life of Krishna. As a majority of the Assamese are Vaishnavas, and since Krishna was an incarnation of Vishnu, this festival has great significance for them.