Festivals of Assam
Rongali Bihu / Bohag Bihu
This is the most important and vibrant festival of Assam, marking the New Year for the Assamese people and many other tribes like the Bodo, Kachari and Deori. The festivities and rituals last anywhere from three days to seven days. Being an agrarian community , the first grains are offered to the gods for a successful year. It is a time for merriment, feasting and dances with many unique dances performed specifically during this time.
Majuli has a strong Vaishanvite culture, with a great reverence to Lord Krishna. During the Raas Leela festival , all the Satras in Majuli showcase Lord Krishna’ life in their unique way, through the medium of dance, play, songs and puppet shows. The festival starts on the full moon day of the Kati month ( October or November) , lasting for a period of 5 days. The plays which are extremely colorful are performed with professional stage lights and go on for the entire night. People from all over Assam come over to enjoy the devotional yet entertaining plays , performed by devoted theater artists.
The Ambubachi Mela takes place in Kamakhya temple for a duration of four days, sometime during the rainy season. It is believed that Goddess Kamakyha goes through her menstrual cycle on the first three days of the fair . During this period the devotees follow stricts restrictions of not taking a bath or cooking any meals. Then on the fourth day the goddess is cleaned with water and milk, followed by different rituals. Thereafter many Tantrics come from all over to show their powers and tricks.
Ali Aye Ligang
Ali-aye-ligang is the spring festival of the Mishing community, the second largest tribe of Assam. The Mishing people are predominantly an agrarian society residing along the Brahmaputra river. The festival indicates the beginning of summer rice plantation locally know as Ahu. The name of the festival is made up of three terms, ‘Ali’, legumes, ‘Aye’, seed and ‘Ligang’, to sow. Many folk dances and songs are performed by the youth during this festival. Feasts are a big part of the festival, with local rice wine and pork dishes flowing freely.