GUWAHATI, April 14 (IANS): Celebrations began on Thursday in India's northeastern state of Assam as people took part in the state's most colourful festival of song and dance, Rongali Bihu, with gaiety and fervour.
Rongali Bihu or Bohag Bihu marks the beginning of the Assamese new year. It starts on the last day of the month of Chot (Chaitra), which was on Wednesday.
The first day of Rongali Bihu is dedicated to cattle and is celebrated as 'Goru Bihu'.
People, particularly the farming community, take their cattle to the rivers, ponds and other water bodies and give them a ceremonial bath, rubbing them with turmeric paste and other herbs. The cattle are tied with a new 'pogha' (rope) and fed brinjal and gourd.
The actual celebration started on Thursday, the first day of the Assamese New Year and the month of Bohag.
The Bohag Bihu celebrations continues for at least seven days, and sometimes throughout the month of Bohag in many places.
People wear new cloths and the Gamocha -- the traditional Assamese towel which is either sported around the neck or tied around the head.
Younger people seek blessings from the elders and head of the family so that the year brings prosperity, health and good luck.
Musical concerts and competitions are organised across the state. In main city Guwahati too, song and dance competitions are held.
This year, over 150 such functions are being organised by clubs and cultural organisations in Guwahati.
People also take part in traditional games at the Bihutolis (venues where Bihu programmes are organised).