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The Bihu dance is the folk dance of Assam performed at the time of the Bihu festival. The Bihu festival is a celebration of various seasons and appreciation to nature. As most of the Indian dance forms relate to history, mythological characters, classical dance forms and lots of traditions and culture. The Bihu dance is simple gratitude to nature in the form of dance celebration by the farmer and various other communities of Assam.

Highlights about Bihu Festival & Dance –

  1. This is the folk dance of Assam focused on the celebration and gratitude to mother nature.
  2. The first time, Bihu dance was performed on a stage was in 1962, part of a cultural event that took place in Guwahati.
  3. This dance is a symbol of community bond and togetherness where a group of men and women dance together wearing colorful costumes signifying joy and rigor.
  4. The three types of Bihu dance festivals are Bohag Bihu, Kongali Bihu and Bhogali Bihu based on the crop cycle.

Origin and history –

The history of Bihu dance is unclear but some reference as a group of communities perform the dance in the fields, groves, forest and on the bank of rivers. The first formal permission is summoned to be when Ahom king Rudra Singha invited Bihu dancers to perform at the Ranghar fields around 1694 on the season of Rongali Bihu.

Costume Description

The Assamese beautify very simple dresses, and mostly hand-loomed. The women wear motif-rich Mekhela Chador. The men wear ‘ ‘dhoti’, and over it, they drape a chadar known as ‘Seleng’. Gamosa is an essential part of almost all socio-religious ceremonies in Assam. Gamosa is an essential part of almost all socio-religious ceremonies in Assam.

Some Dance Tutorials

Cultural and social Importance –

The Bihu dance is named from the Bohag Bihu festival, the national festival of Assam., which celebrates the Assamese New Year. The festival takes place during mid-April and the Bihu dance is meant to glorify and follow the seasonal spirit, celebrating fertility and enthusiasm.

Bihu is performed by groups of young men and women and in earlier times it served principally as a courtship dance. The Bihu dance’s association with potency refers to both human fertility, through the erotic nature of the dance, as well as to the fertility of nature, meaning the celebration of spring and the welcome of spring rain which is considered as life-giver to season.

With reference to history, there are some mentions that this dance has been looked down upon in Assamese society, especially during colonial times, because of the sexually-charged nature of the performance., which conflicted with the Victorian views that were dominant at the time among British colonists. 

Presently, the this dance continues to play an influential role and is a cultural symbol in the modern-day Assamese society, becoming a symbol of the Assamese cultural identity. While before independence, it has been chiefly a rural phenomenon, the dance has managed to remain relevant in the face of increasing urbanization, with the practice being adopted in the region’s urban centers. 

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