Fair & Festivals of Assam
Assam is a land of fairs and festivals. Most of the festivals celebrated in Assam have their roots in the diverse faith and belief of her inhabitants, but a spirit of accommodation and togetherness characterizes the celebration of all festivals. The perfect fusion of heritage of her numerous races has made Assam the home of the most colorful festivals which are passionate, compelling and mesmerizing reflecting the true spirit, tradition and lifestlye of the people of Assam.
The most important festivals of Assam are the Bihus, celebrated with joy and abundance by all Assamese people irrespective of caste, creed, religion, faith and belief. In a year there are three Bihu festivals known as Rongali, bhogali and Kangali. The most important and colourful of the three Bihu festival is the Spring festival "Bohag Bihu" or Rangali Bihu celebrated in the middle of April. This also initiates the agricultural season. The merriments include dances accompanied on the wild and lusty beats of Dhol and Pepa (buffalo hornpipe). Songs sung in this Bihu are woven around themes of love and often carry erotic overtones. People adorn traditional attires like Dhoti, Gamocha and Chadar, Mekhala.
There will be a lot of scopes to fit yourself as a part of this festival . Special events are being organized during the festivals days round the clock. Cultural programmes will continue with the participation of various traditional and classical cultural troupes of Assam and troupes from rest of the country, in addition to rich cultural heritage of Majuli.
The Tea festival organised by Assam Tourism in the month of November is a unique experience. One cannot miss this festival which offers holidays combining visits to Tea Gardens, Golf and River Cruises. A visit to the "Guwahati Tea Auction Center" (GTAC) in Guwahati, the largest in India is a must.
Bohaggiyo Bishu is also observed during mid-April at a stretch for seven days with unrestricted joy and merrymaking. It is said that the Deoris Bishu do not always fall on the Sankranti Day. The Bishu must be preceded by a 'Than puja' and evidently it must start on a Wednesday. There is much socio-religious significance for this festival and arrangements are to be made before the puja. Once in every four years a white buffalo is sacrificed which is considered a substitute for the traditional human sacrifice.
Jonbeel of Jagiroad is host to one of the most spectacular and popular fairs in Assam. Come winter and tribes & communities like Tiwa, Karbi, Khasi, Jaintia come down with their products for this Mela. This is perhaps the only fair in India where barter system is still alive. A big market is organised during this fair and people from various tribes and communities exchange their products. But before the fair opens fire worship or Agni Puja is performed. Another interesting feature is that the King of Tiwa tribe collects taxes from his subjects.
Rajini Gabra & Harni Gabra
This essentially a religious practice before starting the new cultivation. The Dimasa tribe celebrates the festival. Rajini Gabra starts with Kunang or the village headman propitiating the family deity by closing the village gate on the Puja day. In the night, presiding deity is worshipped for protection and prosperity of the people. This function is called Harni Gabra. An interesting feature of this festival is that if any outsider enters the functions after the gates are closed, then the celebrations are considered spoiled and the intruder has to bear the cost of starting the functions afresh.