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Karabi Borsaikia
Date of Publish: 2018-03-27

Log Bihu of the Sonowal Kacharis that invokes Bordoisila

 

When Bordoisila ( Nor’wester- hailstorm and thunderstorms) lashes Assam in April heralding the message of incoming monsoon, it also sets the mood for Spring festival which is known as Rongali Bihu and by different names among different communities of the north-eastern state. Each community has its own cultural codes to welcome the arrival of the Spring.

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The Sonowal Kacharis, an integral part of greater Assamese society and a branch of the Bodo-Kacharis, observe Log Bihu to invoke Bordoisila ( Known as Habuki among them) and welcome the arrival of the Spring through observance of pre-harvest Bihu celebration.

Log Bihu is an integral part of the Khring Khring Baithw puja of the Sonowal Kacharis and is performed on the third day of the three-day festivity. The name of this festival of singing and dancing is believed to have been derived from the Assamese word ‘log’ which means companion. Young men and women beloning to the community celebrate this Bihu in companionship with each other and hence the name.

Sonowal Kacharis are concentred mostly in Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Sivasagar and Golaghat districts of the Brahmaputra valley. A sizable population of Sonowal Kacharis also live in the two neighbouring states of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.

Nine young men and nine damsels are selected to perform Log Bihu. Nine damsels are known as Sotai, Rahimola, Jaimola, Kamala, Banhpati, Bisondoi. Ramoti, Roti and Sarumoti. These nine damsels are friends of Bordoisila.

Before their performance they seek the blessings of their God inside the kitchen of the priest. The Log Bihu is performed first on the courtyard of the priest. All the performers are draped in white attire. The men wear white suria (which resembles Dhoti), traditional waist coat called Gatung and use gamosa for the headgear called as paguri. The damsels wear long white Mekhela with white shirt and wrap a piece of cloth around the waist known as ekhetia and use Gamosa as headgear called tokoyawhile other girls who join them in singing and dancing wear Muga mekhela, muga shirt, ekhetia and tokoya.

 

The Sonowal Kacharis believe that the agricultural production is directly linked with merriment of the Log Bihu and more the merriment, more the production. The songs associated with Log Bihu are distinct from other Bihu songs. They narrate the merriment of the young men and women in relation to nature around them. The Log Bihu songs also provide a glimpse into the rich history of the Sonowal Kacharis.

Karabi Borsaikia

( Karabi Borsaikia is an Independent journalist based in Guwahati. She can be reached at karabi.borsaikia25@gmail.com)

All Photogrpahs courtesy Sonowal Kachari Autonmous Council

Video couresy : Jogesh Kachari

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