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Kati Bihu 2023: Celebrating Assam’s Festival of Lights and Harvest

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Kati Bihu, also recognized as Kongali Bihu, holds immense cultural importance among the Assamese community in Assam. Observed on the first day of the ‘Kati’ month, typically in mid-October, Kati Bihu 2023, celebrated today, signifies the inception of the rice crop’s growth and the dawn of the new harvest season in the region.

Kati Bihu 2023

The festival begins with the cleansing and installation of a sacred plant, typically the Tulsi plant, on an earthen platform called “Tulsi Bheti.” Families offer prayers and offerings to Goddess Tulsi, seeking the well-being of their loved ones and a prosperous harvest. This ritual extends throughout the month of Kati, with lamps and candles adorning various corners of the home, especially around the revered Tulsi plant, creating a serene and spiritual atmosphere.

History of Kati Bihu

Kati Bihu is a reflective festival, mainly centered on acknowledging the constraints of the month and recalling the events of the past year. It marks the commencement of the sowing season in Assam. The sight of empty granaries and burgeoning paddy fields serves as a poignant symbol of scarcity during this period, leading to its colloquial names “Poor” or “Kongali.”

Significance of Kati Bihu 2023

Kati Bihu holds a distinguished place among Assam’s three major festivals, alongside Bhogali Bihu and Rongali Bihu. It fosters a deep connection to agricultural heritage and emphasizes the significance of the harvest. The tradition of illuminating traditional lamps and adorning the Tulsi plant with lights and garlands harks back to ancient practices, where these lights doubled as natural pesticides in the fields.

Celebrations of Kati Bihu 2023

  1. Light a Lamp: Traditional clay lamps are kindled in reverence to Goddess Tulsi, symbolizing aspirations, materialization, and the prosperity of families.
  2. Learn Bihu Dance: Join the celebration by learning Assam’s traditional dance, which is not only culturally enriching but also great exercise.
  3. Say a Prayer before your meal: Express gratitude for the food on your plate & also the farmers who grow it. Kati Bihu revolves around rice harvesting, and prayers bless the ground and anticipate a fruitful harvest.

Traditions and Rituals of the Bihu Kati Festival

  • The Meal Feat: Northern Assam favors duck meat, while pigeon meat is enjoyed in the southern regions on gloomy days.
  • The Gamosa Gift: Visitors to Assamese homes are presented with a “gamosa,” a hand-made towel.
  • The Tri-Holiday Celebration: Rongali Bihu, Bhogali Bihu, and Kati Bihu together make up the trio of Bihu festivals in Assam.
  • The Touch of Tulsi: Earthen lamps, known as Saaki, are lit around the revered Tulsi plant, emphasizing its significance.
  • The Dance of Persistence: The day culminates with the Assamese traditional dance, Bihu, serving as a symbol of community unity even during non-festive moments.

Kati Bihu is a vibrant celebration that not only pays homage to Assam’s rich agricultural heritage but also brings families and communities together. It is a time for gratitude, reflection, and revelry, as the festival ushers in a new season of growth and prosperity.

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