- Kati Bihu is a regional public holiday in the Indian state of Assam on the first day of the month of Kati (Kartik) in the Assamese calendar.
- Bihu are three festivals held in Assam; Bhogali or Magh Bihu is observed on January 13th or 14th, Rongali or Bohag Bihu is observed on April 14th or 15th, Kongali or Kati Bihu is observed in October.
- All three of the Bihu are related to agriculture. The other two Bihu mark key dates in the harvest. This Bihu is celebrated during the time of relocation of the rice sapling – Kati means “cut”.
- Goddess Laxmi, who is worshipped as the distributor of wealth to mortal souls, is worshipped and welcomed into homes on the day. Outside their homes, people light earthen lamps under the Tulsi plant.
- The tradition of burning the lamps dates back to ancient celebrations when the lanterns on the paddy field attracted insects and served as a natural insecticide. To guide the ancestor’s home, traditional lamps, ‘saaki,’ are placed on the tops of bamboo sticks. Offerings are made in every family, followed by the lighting of more earthen lanterns in the granaries, gardens, and paddy fields, as well as prayers for a bountiful harvest.
- These lamps, paired with the whirling of bamboo sticks while reciting rowa khowa chants, are thought to keep pests and evil eyes away from the crops, resulting in a rich harvest.
- Kati Bihu is celebrated with great sincerity by the entire state. It is one of the few unique festivals of India which surpasses religion, social status, and caste, as people from all walks of life come together and observe the solemnity of their conditions.
- The day is the perfect homage to the laws of nature. From nourishing food to healing sunlight, nature gives us all. The harvest cycle depends on the turns of the season and with Kati Bihu, we honour the fall that allows us to sow the seeds. So that, come spring, we may bear the fruits.
Kati Bihu celebrated in Assam on Tuesday 18 October 2022
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