Bihu festival is the chief festival of Assam and it falls three times in a year : Rongali or Bohag Bihu celebrated in April, Kangali or Kati Bihu observed in October and Magh or Bhogali bihu celebrated in January. Each Bihu has it's own significance, tradition and different method of celebrating it. You can even send gift to India on each of these three times Bihu festival is celebrated. If you are living in the United States then, you can easily send gifts to India from USA to make yourself a part of these celebrations. The Rongali Bihu is the most popular of the three, Bhogali Bihu is all about food and Kangali Bihu is the sombre one marking the end of food supplies. Let us look at how these are celebrated.
It is the most popular bihu and celebrates the onset of Assamese New Year and the coming of Spring. It's a time of merriment and feasting and continues, in general, for seven days. The farmers prepare the fields for cultivation of paddy and there is a feeling of joy around. The woman make pithas, larus, jolpan which gives the real essence of the season. Bihugeets are sung all day long. The first day of the Bihu festival is called goru bihu or cow bihu, where the cows are washed and worshipped, which falls on the last day of the previous year. Then, on the next day they wash themselves and wear new clothes. The third day is the day of the Gods and they all worship the Gods with increased fervour.
Also known as Kati Bihu, this has a different flavour and less merriment and the atmosphere is more of constraint and solemnity. During this time of the year, the granaries of the farmers are almost empty as the seedlings are in growing stage. On this day, earthen lamps are lit on the foot of the Tulsi plant in the household, the granary, the garden and the paddy fields. To protect the maturing paddy, cultivators whirl a piece of bamboo and recite rowa-khowa chants and spells to ward off pests and the evil eye. During the evening, cattle are fed specially made rice items called pitha this also falls under the category of Bihu sweets. The Bodo people light lamps at the foot of the siju tree.
Bhogali Bihu comes from the word Bhog that is eating and enjoyment It is a harvest festival and marks the end of harvesting season. Since the granaries are full, there is a lot of feasting and eating during this period. On the eve of the day called uruka, i.e., the last day of pausa, menfolk, more particularly young men go to the field, preferably near a river, build a makeshift cottage called Bhelaghar with the hay of the harvest fields and the bonfire or Meji, the most important thing for the night. During the night, they prepare food and there is community feasting everywhere. There is also exchange of sweets and greetings at this time. The next morning they take a bath and burn the main Meji. People gather around the Meiji and throw Pithas and betel nuts to it while burning it at the same time. They offer their prayers to the God of Fire and mark the end of the harvesting year.