• Celebrating rituals of Kati Bihu in Assam; people offer prayers for wholesome harvest


    Guwahati: Assam celebrates the festival of Kati Bihu today. Kati Bihu is a festival of Assam celebrated by all sections of the community irrespective of class, creed and faith. 

    Kati Bihu is also known as Kongali Bihu. The festival of Bihu reflects the identity of the Assamese people. Kati Bihu is celebrated to mark to starting date of Assamese month 'Kati'.

    If you compare other Bihus like Bohag Bihu, Magh Bihu, Kati Bihu is celebrated with a lesser spirit of festivity. But, its significance is associated with the common people living and survival.

    Culture depicts the soul identity of Assamese people. The Kongali Bihu is an autumn festival in Assam. On this day, all the people from the state light 'saki' (clay lamps) at their homes and paddy fields.

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    The key term 'Kongali' indicates 'poverty.' This also indicates the empty barns and that food is limited among individuals. People light candles and offer prayers to god for a wholesome harvest. 

    Traditionally, people light clay oil lamps in front of the 'Tulasi' plant, at home corridors, and paddy fields. The Tulasi altar is coated with cow-dug and mud. Also, a small banana tree is planted near it. The cultivator goes to his paddy field, lights the clay lamp, waves a stick over the paddy. They also utter hymns for his field's protection from destruction by birds, rodents, bugs and animals. 

    The significance of Kati Bihu is that it reflects the essential part of survival- the paddy fields and rice crop cultivation. It is held when the paddy crop has yet to mature, and storehouses are nearly empty. This day is likewise considered promising since it is believed that the spirits of the ancestors will visit to offer blessings. Therefore Assamese farmers burn Akaxbonti lamps on top of bamboo poles to oversee these spirits the way to paradise.

    There are different modes of rituals and rites performed by different communities on Kati Bihu. However, the basic significance of the day is marked with the same spirit and ritual by all. 

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