6 Popular Festivals Celebrated In Assam (2023)
No matter which state you talk about, as long as it is a part of India, then you will find a diverse range of festivals being celebrated there. When talking about the North-eastern state of Assam in particular, it is no different. Assam is considered as a very colorful state of the country where the local people celebrate a ton of fairs and festivals with utmost vigour, pomp and show. As spectators as well as participators, the level of grandeur and energy you get to experience during the celebrations of these festivals in Assam is just another level. One can categorise most of the festivals of the state of Assam in three major categories which are Agricultural festivals, folk festivals and religious festivals. Like the entire country, the state of Assam also boasts of being a home to a diverse population.
You can find people belonging to various different communities and tribes living in this beautiful state of Assam. The best part is that though they may belong to different communities and may have different traditions as well as caste, they participate with equal excitement in the celebration of all kinds of occasions, making it even more appealing. Are you also planning a vacation to Assam but want to do so during a festive time? If yes, then you don’t have to worry anymore because in this article we have brought for some of the popular festivals celebrated in Assam. Continue reading to know more!
6 Popular Festivals Celebrated In Assam
- Bihu Dance Festival: This is one of the most prominent festivals celebrated in Assam which is almost symbolic of the state. Bihu dance festival is basically a set of three festivals that denote the culture of Assam. The three parts of the Bihu dance festival that are celebrated are Bohag Bihu, Kongali Bihu and Bhogali Bihu. Celebrations for all these three types of Bihu festival are dependent on the crop cycle. Starting with the Bohag Bihu, it is also known by the name of Rongali Bihu. It is usually celebrated during the month of April and signifies the start of the New agricultural Year according to the Assamese calendar. The next is the Bohgali Bihu, which is also called by the name of Magh Bihu. Celebrating the harvesting period, it is held during the winter season, in the month of January and coincides with the Winter Solstice. The third and last Bihu festival is the Kongali Bihu, also known as Kati Bihu. It is celebrated with a lot of zeal in the month of October and coincides with the autumn solstice. This festival comes at a time when the completion of seeds as well as transplantation of paddy is done. History of the Bihu Dance Festival of Assam: The word ‘Bihu’ is a Sanksrit word meaning ‘Vishnu’. This festival has been celebrated by Assamese people for a long time. This festival marks the cycle of farming for the state. It is not only celebrated to differentiate the predominant agricultural seasons of Assam but also to mark the change of season. Image Source
- Kaziranga Elephant Festival: Also known as Elephant festival of Assam, it is organised in the popular Kaziranga National Park. The main aim behind celebrating this festival is to spread awareness about the conservation and protection of Asiatic elephants, since poaching has reduced their numbers drastically. Organised by the Forest Department of Assam along with the Tourist Department, this festival is a measure to decrease the day to day man and animal conflict. During this festival, the domesticated elephants are decked up and they participate in various events such as dance, football and parade. Advocating Ecotourism and conservation of wild animals, this is an annual festival which is celebrating in the month of February every year. Other than elephants, you can also get to see several regional artists displaying folk traditions participating in the cultural events. History of the Kaziranga Elephant Festival: In order to promote Eco tourism, preservation of Asiatic elephants and highlight the struggle of elephants, this festival was first organised by the authorities in 2003 and since then it is celebrated annually.
- Majuli Festival: Celebrated by the banks of the beautiful River Luit, which also happens to be the biggest river island in the entire world, this is another popular festival celebrated in Assam. The celebrations for the festival begin on November 21st and they continue till November 24th every year. This festival is celebrated and held in Garmur, which is the sub – divisional headquarters of Majuli Island and is well known for its ethereal scenic beauty. During the celebrations, a variety of cultural programs are organised by a number of cultural groups of Majuli and other parts of Assam state. Other than these cultural programs, one can also see a number of ethnic groups participating in the celebration as well as admire the rich flora and fauna for which Majuli is so popular. History of the Festival: Owing to the fact that many cultural and religious traditions have been followed in the place from as long as the 16th century, Majuli is often considered as the cultural capital of the state. Through the multiple performances of the native groups and exhibitions in the festival, the remnants of old traditions are reflected and displayed.
- Brahmaputra Beach Fair and Festival: Brahmaputra is one of the most popular attractions of the state of Assam. One the beaches of this mighty river, the Assam Boat Racing and Rowing Association along with the Assam Tourism Development Corporation organises an open – air beach fair and festival. This Assamese festival is celebrated during the month of January and usually coincides with the Magh Bihu. The main aim behind the celebration of this festival in Assam is to promote the indigenous tradition and culture of the land of Assam to the youth as well as the culture aficionados. Amidst the bright and colorful festivities, one can find a plethora of traditional sports organised including boat racing, beach cricket, beach volleyball and so on. Other than adventure sports, one can also witness many cultural programs displaying traditional arts and culture of the state during the festival. Stalls selling Assamese handicraft items and competitions such as kite flying and drawing add on to the fun. History of the Festival: This colorful and fun festival of Assam has been organised on the vast sandy beaches of Brahmaputra since quite long. It was in 2004, that there was a wide gap of 8 years after which the festival was directly organised again in 2012 and since then has been celebrated annually.
- Ambubachi Mela: Ambubachi mela is a fair which is held in the popular Kamakhya temple in Guwahati. It is considered as a popular Hindu religious festival celebrated in Assam. The Assamese festival is basically at that time of the season when Mother Nature or the Mother Goddess residing in the temple of Kamakhya is believed to menstruate. This temple is one of 52 Shaktipeethas. There is a well-known belief that the genitals of Shakti had fallen on this place. Hence, it is during the time of Ambubachi or menstruation of the Goddess, that a huge crowd of devotees gather at the temple to perform a series of religious rituals. The Ambubachi fair is organised in the month of June for about 4 days near the Kamakhya temple. You may also come across some people who refer to this fair as Ameti or Tantrik fertility festival. It is during this festival that many tantric ascetics who live in isolation for the rest of the year make an annual public appearance. A variety of tantric rituals are practiced during this 4 – day fair in Assam. History of the festival: According to the Hindu mythological legends, when her father insulted her husband Shiva in front of a number of people, Goddess Shakti killed herself. On hearing the news of her death, Lord Shiva became extremely angry and performed Tandava while holding her body on his shoulder. In order to stop him, Lord Vishnu released his Sudarshan Chakra that sliced her body into small 52 pieces that fell apart in different directions. It is believed that on the locations where these parts fell, the devotees built a temple dedicated to the Goddess. Kamakhya temple is one such temple.
- Dehing Tea Patkai Festival: Organised by the Government of Assam every year in the Tinsukia district of the state of Assam, this festival gives its visitors an exceptional taste of the mighty hills of the place, literally through the tea which is produced here. Heritage tea tours are a significant part of this festival in Assam. Other than this, several types of entertainment options are provided including tribal dance, nature walks, golf playing, etc. Food festival is organised here where one can get a taste of the scrumptious delicacies of the North East India, especially Assam. Even craft fairs are organised here to promote the traditional art and craft of the state. About 20 tribes participate in the celebrations of the festival to exhibit their traditional songs and dances. History of the festival: The Dehing patkai tea festival was first organised in the year 2002 by the Assam Government and since then it is celebrated annually.
Visiting Assam during the celebration of any of these colorful festivals will give you a chance to experience the rich heritage the state boasts of and the unique lifestyle of the local people of the state of Assam. Have a fun vacation!