Bihu is a very colourful festival of Assam. It is one of those rarest festivals, which is celebrated thrice in a year. It is commonly believed that Bihu originated long before the Aryan race had set foot in India. The history of this festival dates back to the year 3500 B.C. It is commonly believed that the festival originated from the language of Dimasa Kacharis, an agrarian tribe who flourished in this part of the world thousands of years back. For 3500 years, Bihu has been a festival of joy and celebrations that has bought people closer to one another.
The influence of Bihu is not limited to that of farmers and people related to agriculture. It is believed that great writers and composers in the Assamese language were also significantly influenced by this unique festival. Sankar Deva the great hymn composer and Madhav Deva who is known for his Assamese rendering of Valmiki’s Ramayana both of whom lived during the 15th century were influenced by Bihu in a big way.
According to some scholars, the origin of Bihu can be attributed to the Sanskrit word “Bisuvan”. Bisuvan was popular in ancient culture as a day when people performed fire sacrifices in the hope of having better harvest. This practice according to many scholars was the root of the Bihu festival.
According to Vishu Puran, there was a festival known was Bisuva which was celebrated somewhere in between the winter and spring season, when the sun changed its position from one sign of the Hindu zodiac calendar to another. It is believed that Bihu is the modern version of the Bisuva festival. Recent scholars investigating the Indo-Aryan roots of the Assamese culture hold the opinion that Bihu originates from two different words from the Tai origin known as boi, which meant “the rules of worship,” and hu means “cow”.