Assam is a fertile land surrounded by Blue Mountains and replenished by the mighty Brahmaputra River. The occupation of the people here is agriculture and the entire society is agrarian in nature. Bihu is basically a celebration of the change of the seasons. Each of the three Bihu celebrations marks an important phase in the farming calendar of Assam.
The word Bihu is originally derived from the word known as “Bishu’, which means that people ask for prosperity from the Gods during important junctures of the harvesting season. Later on, the name somehow got distorted and the festival came to be known as Bihu. According to another source, it is commonly believed that the festival received its name from two different words, namely “bi” which means to ask and “hu” which means to give. Both these words combined to form the name Bihu.What Bihu Stands For?
The festival of Bihu gives a unique identity to the Assamese people and makes them standout in the history of the nation. Bihu besides being a primary identity of Assam is also a harvest festival. It is celebrated thrice during important junctures of the agrarian calendar.
The first Bihu which is known as the Bohag Bihu or Rongali Bihu is celebrated for a period of seven days. It celebrates the onset of spring and farmers on this occasion prepare the field for cultivation. There is a general air of feasting and festivity all around in the atmosphere of Assam.
The next Bihu is known as Kati Bihu and this is more of as subdued occasion. This Bihu is primarily celebrated to seek blessings from the Gods, so that no harm is done to the crops while they are getting ready for harvest.
The last Bihu is known as Magh Bihu. Magh Bihu marks the end of the harvest season. During Magh Bihu, the primary emphasis is on feasting and celebrating, as the granaries are full and farmers are no longer required to worry about their crops. Celebration of Magh Bihu involves a lot of food and entertainment and is celebrated with much enthusiasm in all Assamese families located in different parts of the World.