'Bohag Bihu' a musical celebration

'Bohag Bihu' a musical celebration

Northeast Junction

Delhiites got a golden chance to enjoy the beauty of Assam right here.  Bohag Bihu the most popular Bihu, celebrated at the onset of the Assamese New Year and the coming of Spring was organised in Dilli Haat from 13-15 April.

A festival incomplete without good food and dance, Bohag Bihu was a hit among the crowds who visited in large numbers. 

Northeast Junction was part of a new media collaborative of practitioners working toward free and democratic media and organised by Assam Times. The event featured young talented artistes from the Northeast and the first day saw cultural performances including the Mishing Dance by Bibisha from Assam; The festival also showcased youth bands like Mangalz and Mode of Decade - an all woman band from Manipur.

Bohag Bihu typically has the woman of the family making pitha and larus (made from rice and coconut) on the occasion. These delicacies were on offer at the festival. along with jolpan. 

Niren Deka, owner of the Assam stall explained: “The Assamese celebrate three types of Bihu in a year - Rongaali Bihu or Bohag Bihu, Kati Bihu and Bhogaali Bihu. Rongaali Bihu, the most important of them all, is celebrated in the month of Bohag or mid-April with narikol (coconut); tilor (til) laddus and pitha. Shira is the most famous dish which must be served during this fest. We are serving this and also special Maas tenga, khatta mutton is served which the Assamese simply love.”

However, it wasn’t only the Assamese but Delhiites too were seen enjoying the fare.

Minakshi Arwin says that she was there just to have North Eastern food and also to listen to Northeastern bands. 

For Northeasterners it was time to get together and celebrate their new year with friends. Kaustav Thakuria and Bharti Burajohain from Assam were enjoying chicken bamboo shoot, the most famous cuisine of Northeast and to cheer the bands.

It is said children of Northeast are born to the tune of music and Babul Gogoi, one of the organiser of the event reiterated the thought, “Right from childhood, music is an essential part of a Northeasterner’s life. His inborn talent is therefore exploited to the fullest. Having distinct musical forms and instruments, dance and music are integral parts of religious and cultural events across Northeast. So, we are trying to highlight that through this event.”

The second day saw four bands - Bamboo Groove (a fusion band); The Lost Tribe (from Carbi tribe); Frisky Pints (a Mizo band) and Negative Space perform their original compositions.  The late Bhupen Hazarika’s compositions were brought alive by Bhaskar Goswami, the lead vocalist with Bamboo Groove. The group also performed Tum jo mil gaye in Assamese and Shonar boron by Pratima Pandey. It was evident from the audience reaction just how popular the group’s fusion presentation turned out to be. With a touch of tradition and rock music as their mainstay, the band managed to successfully blend the old with the new. Rongali Bihu is also a fertility festival and the Bihu dance with its sensuous movements using hips and arms by the young women, is actually a dance which is performed to celebrate fertility. It can also be interpreted as a dance in which young women celebrate their own fertility.

In view of this interpretation, the Bihu dance can also be called a mating ritual performed by young men and women. The dances are accompanied by traditional Assamese instruments like the Dhol, Pepa, Gagana and Toka among others. The third day of the festival had a Bihu Dance Competition among boys and girls, apart from Bihu Husori and Bihu Kuwori competitions.

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