From Assam with Love is about all aspects of Assam from the viewpoint of a Proud Assamese.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Kati Bihu celebration

Today is Kati Bihu. A friends's facebook update reminds me of Kati Bihu. Sad. It is that Bihu once I loved the best. It is celebrated in a calm and serene way where rituals are given more importance than ostentatious celebration. Unlike our Bhogali or Rongali Bihu.

The day of Kati Bihu started in our village with an announcement in each household to build an alter for a Tulsi plant. We make or try to make a very creative kind of earthen structure which would mostly resemble to a temple. On the top of the structure our new Tulsi plant would gloriously stand for a few hours. The rest of the growth story of the plant would depend upon the owner's care. We would also go hunting for a kind of small  fruit which grows yellow when ripened to decorate our Tulsi temple.

 Kati Bihu is the day to remind the god of harvest to bless our paddy fields. During the day we use to visit our paddy fields which we would call fondly 'Kheti sowa' or 'Pothar sowa'. Along with some elders our troupe would joyously stroll around our vast common paddy field(the famous and infamous Jokaichuk pothar) passing   exalted comments on whose patch is more fertile, ripened or less bestowed this year. When the sun  would start rounding up His day for this mostly awaited day we would also wrap up our tour.

Now comes the real celebration of Kati Bihu. It's time to light the earthen lamp under the Tulsi plant. Each and every household prepare some bhog of Mah Prasad, along with fruits like banana, coconut, apple, fresh new Pomelos etc. It is believed that Pomelos should be eaten from this day only. We assemble near the Tulsi plant in every house, sing/shout some prayers near the plant and than collect the Prasad, and head straight to the next home. It would be redundant that every household would cook a curry of the excess lentils that day!!

The most beautiful part of Kati Bihu is obviously the beautiful songs we would sing like Tulasir Tale, Mrigapohu chare... etc. but there is more to this Bihu because of the purely sacred nature of this Bihu. The Akash Bonti, lamp lit on exalted posts in the middle of the paddy fields, under the Tulsi plants and the silent prayers of the farmers. Since most of the remote areas of Assam was deprived of electricity due to scarcity in the evening Kati Bihu adds a different yet beautiful dimension to the auspicious Kati Bihu in the evenings in those days.

P.S:I am sure kati Bihu is celebrated in different ways in various parts of Assam. Still I would like to share how we have celebrated Kati Bihu in Assam during our childhood twenty years back.

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