Bihu dance differentiated into Rongali Bihu that is celebrated in the month of April. To enjoy the hard work on raising and cutting of the crops with their first offering to their lord. Magh Bihu is celebrated in the month of January related to food. The food is made of rice grains through which different types of recipes are prepared known as “Pitha”. The celebration of the festival with main attraction is the folk dance “ Bihu”.
Nothing much can be written based on the origin of the Bihu folk dance, but it is said that King Rudra Singh invited Bihu folk dancers to perform in the fields to celebrate the festival of harvesting. Origin of Bihu was in “Ahom” the state Assam which was much more larger and occupied much more land than whatever it posses now.
Bihu the auspicious festival where the farmers sing and dance to cherish their prosperity while harvesting their crops.
After harvesting, the first crop is offered to the lord, the festival of joy and happiness Bihu the folk dance is performed. The word “Bihu” has been derived from the word “Bishu” which mean peace and prosperity. The festival is celebration for entire Assam integrated with different tribes but each tribe enjoys the crop harvesting.
The famous festival of Assam “Rongali Bihu,” the season of harvesting of new crops where the farmers are happy welcoming the New Year. Bihu dance form is differentiated into three types the Missing Bihu dance, Deori dance and Rati Bihu. Each of them are celebrated on the occasion of New Year in the season of spring.
Muga silk made “Mekhla Chador” with beautiful patterns of red color worn. Divided into two parts worn almost similar to the saree. The red blouse is the best compatible which is worn during the performances.
Heavy pieces of jewellery with gold plated earrings, necklaces and wide bracelets make the entire look of the ladies prettier. A garland of flowers is rolled over the buns that not only increases the beauty but also signifies the season of spring.
Males wear a dhoti tied around the waist or head with the gamocha. This gamocha is the native woven cloth made of pat silk or cotton which is a symbol of respect and honor. Derived from the word “gamsaw” that is used to cover the sacred Bhagavad Gita. So, don’t confuse it with the towel for wiping.
Unique folk dance with the movements mostly through hands and waist. The movements have evolved into new forms as compared to earlier but the basic still the same. Folk dance on romantic songs, the live singing and dancing of the groups during the festival. This dance form is mostly performed in groups of males and females together. Songs accompanied by instruments along with the performances of the folk dance makes the spring more beautiful.
In this folk dance the main instruments are
• Dhol: Almost all folk dances have Dhol one of the most important instrument made of wood.
• Pepa: One of the unique form of instrument that is made of buffalo horn. Though it is less used now because of the reducing population of buffaloes.
• Taal: Also known as manjira or khanjani according to the Hindu tradition devotion to God such as kirtans, Bihu, prayers.
• Toka: Instrument made from bamboos grown in the forests of Assam, it is also one of the unique musical instrument for Bihu folk dance.
• Xutuli: It is made of the bamboo end or clay which can produce the sound of birds and animals.
• Gogona: Lahori Gagona is played by women tied on the knot while dancing. Ramdhan Gagona are played by men.
• Baanhi: Made of bamboo also known as flute.
One most important prop used in Bihu folk dance in India is the farmer’s hat. Bamboo is one of the grown plants in Assam, India the hat is made of bamboo with beautiful designs depicted on it. The hats are used by the farmers while they plough in the field. The hat is used in the folk dance symbolizing the joy of the farmers and the season of harvest.
Another uniqueness of Assam and the farmers living here is the hat woven through the canes of bamboo. Other props are generally gogona that is used both by males and females.
Various workshops are held in various parts of Assam to train dancers and build skilful dancers and maintain the tradition of Assam. Several women and men are found to join the workshops and learn the folk dance. The dance form has changed with an evolution to produce more enthusiastic dance where the viewers and dancers both will enjoy the performances.
Types of Bihu dances
Assam, India is divided in various tribes and cultures. The Bihu dance form accordingly changes from region to region. The women and men dress up in muga silk saree and dhoti traditional form of bihu is known as the “Rongali Bihu” that is performed in fields. Mising Bihu is one of the folk dance performed by the Mising tribe and Deori Bihu by the Deori tribe. The Bihu is differentiated into various forms according to the various tribes and region of the northeast Assam.
International and National performances.
Bihu folk dance is performed on the national and international performances. In 2012 Bihu was performed in London Olympics and widely performed in the national basis the recent performance of Bihu dance on the national tribal dance festivals, performance in Delhi International Airport 2016.
The dance has been inspired from the Bodo-kachari tribe a combination of Austro-Asiatic and Tibeto-Burman races, Bihu word according to the tribe is Bisu. The Tai-Shan contribution has come up with one more celebration is the cow worship where they perform rituals and worship cows. Later was the contribution of the Indo Aryan to celebrate the festival of bohag(spring).
The folk dance is performed in the festival of joy and one of the highly energetic forms that requires lots of energy and enthusiasm to perform and enjoy the festival singing and dancing with joy.