GUWAHATI, April 13 - With only a day left for the Bohag Bihu or the Rongali Bihu � the biggest festival of the Assamese � the people have braced for a befitting celebration to the occasion.
Increasing prices of essential commodities, however, have cast a shadow over the festive spirit for a big segment of the populace belonging to the lower-middle class which is finding it difficult to cope with the situation.
With the pre-monsoon showers providing a much-needed respite from the heat ahead of the Bihu besides lending a fresh touch to the atmosphere after the dry and dusty fagun days, the enthusiasm of the people for the Bihu seems to have increased.
The first day of the Bohag Bihu � called Goru Bihu (Cow Bihu) � falls tomorrow (Friday). It is an occasion dedicated to the cow which is intrinsically linked to the State�s agrarian economy and rural life. Perhaps few other cultures boast of such a unique bond of love and affection between the cow and its owner as exemplified by the occasion.
The morning of the day is marked by garlanding of the cows with wreaths of vegetables, after which the animals are taken to ponds or rivers for giving them a good bath. People also beat the animals with dighalati leaves (a plant with medicinal value) to ward off fleas and insects and sing lao kha bengena kha, basare basare barhi ja (eat bottle gourd and brinjal and be a robust animal).
Next (the second day) comes the Manuh Bihu (People�s Bihu), where the thrust is on merry-making and the general Bihu celebrations. The day begins with the young seeking the blessings of the elder in the morning. Hussori troupes visit households, especially in the rural areas, and present Bihu song and dance performances. Colourful Bihu functions start, which continue for several days. The day is also spent in visiting relatives and friends.
Meanwhile, along with the rest of the State, the city, too, has geared up for a grand celebration of the Bihu. Around a hundred bihutolis (community Bihu pandels) have come up in various localities of the city � all of which will be reverberating with the joyous Bihu spirit with three/four-day programmes.
Besides the regular Bihu song and dance and hussori competitions, the organisers have roped in reputed artistes to perform in the functions. The events during daytime include sports and literary contests among children.
The widely-participated Mukoli Bihu organised by the All Guwahati Students� Union (AGSU) at the Judges� Field every year is scheduled for tomorrow (Friday), synchronising with the Goru Bihu.
A number of luminaries who have contributed to the State in diverse fields will be felicitated on the occasion. Another feature of the Mukoli Bihu is the colourful cultural function featuring various ethnic dances besides Bihu, hussori, etc. Several eminent artistes will also take part in the event.