Bihu is the main festival of Assam. It is celebrated three times a year. Rongali or Bohag Bihu is observed in April. Kongali or Kati Bihu observed in October and Bhogali or Magh Bihu observed in January. Rongali or Bohag Bihu is the Assamese new year and spring festival. The Rongali Bihu coincides with Punjabi New Year Baisakhi. The Bohag Bihu dates are April 15 to April 21. It is a harvest or sowing festival. On Rongali Bihu, Assamese visit their friends and families and celebrate it with feasts, music and dancing. They also hang brass, copper or silver pots on poles in front of their house. Children are seen with flower garlands and wish everyone in their neighbourhood a happy new year. Bohag Bihu marks the first day of the Hindu solar calendar and is also observed in Bengal, Manipur, Mithila, Nepal, Orissa, Punjab, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Festive food - pitha (rice cake) and larus (traditional food made of rice, coconut) are prepared. Traditional drinks like Chuje, Nam-Lao by Tai-Ahom, Aapong by Mising tribe and Jolpan are also prepared and shared among family and friends.
The seven-day festival is celebrated in seven phases - Chot, Kutum, Mela, Raati, Goru, Manuh and Chera. It begins with goru bihu or cow bihu on April 15, where the cows are washed and worshipped. This is followed by manuh (human) bihu on 16 April, the New Year Day when people are seen in new dresses. People sing Bihu geet or Bihu folk songs and also perform traditional Bihu dance.
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