Art Culture & Lifestyle

Agriculture is the main occupation of the people of Assam. Nearly 80% of the people of Assam depend on agriculture. Assam produces cash crops like tea and jute. The tea of Assam is world famous and is the bigger producer of tea in India other crops are rice, sugarcane, cotton, mustard etc.

The cultural life of the people of Assam revolves around the activities of the two most important cultural and religious institutions called the ‘Satra’ (The seat of the religious head) and the ‘Naamghar’ (community prayer hall) where the Hindu Vaishnavites (who do not believe in idol worshipping) recite the name of god by performing at Srimanta Sankardeva. He established the first Naamghar at Bordowa in Nagaon district. In the Assamese language. ‘Naam’ mean prayer and ‘Ghar’ means house hence it is ‘Naamghar’.

Assamis a land of fairs and festivals. Here each and every festival is enjoyed to the fullest irrespective of caste, creed and religion Bihu is the chief festivals of Assam and it is largely based on agriculture. It is called the national festivals of Assam. It is observed all over Assam with pomp and gaiety. There are three Bihu Bohagbihu, kati Bihu and Magh Bihu. Among these, ‘BohagBihu’ has the widest appeal for it is the most colorful and that’s why it is also known as ‘Rangali Bihu’. It is observed in every nook and corner of Assam. It is really a spring festival and is similar to the way festival of England and the spring festival of northern India. The charm of this festival is the unique and graceful Bihu dance.

Kati Bihu is celebreated during the Assamese month of kati. It is also called kangali Bihu because there is scarcity of crops during the period of this festival.

Magh Bihu is basically a harvest festival of Assam and is also called Bhogali Bihu because it is mostly centered community feast. The significant part of this Bihu are the huge bonfires called ‘Meji’ and snacks made of dry banana leaves and dry bamboos called ‘bhela-ghar’ around which, people gather on the eve of Bihu and feast.

The Vaishnavites of Assam celebrate the birth and death anniversaries of Srimanta Sankardeva and Madhabdeva with pomp and grandevor b performing Naam, ‘Bhaora,’ etc. in the premises of ‘Naam-ghar’. In addition to these the people of Assam also celebrate Me-Dam-Me-Phi, use Puja and some common Indian festivals like Durga Puja, Holi, Shivaratri, Diwali, Saraswati Puja, Ganesh Puja, Vishvakarma Puja, Christmas, Id, Muharram etc.

The folk songs and dances of Assam has occupied a respectable space in the cultural field. As mentioned above Bihu is the national festival of Assam-the Bihu songs, dances even the musical instruments has provided a special feature to Assamese culture. Other than Bihu songs there are marriage songs that are being sung in the Assamese marriage ceremonies popularly known as “Biya-Naam”. Other songs are dullaby-“Nichukani-geet”, prayer songs specially sing by women-“aai-naam”, “kamrupia” and “goalparia” folk songs. Dance than the other: ”Satriya” dance is now one of the classical dance form of India and gaining popularity all over other dance forms are “jhumur”.

 The musical instruments iche flute, “pepa”, ”gagana”, “dhal”, “tokari”, “sarenda” etc. create magical melody. These instruments are made of clay, wood, bambaa, metals etc. It the world of Assamese music people use different types of drums or “dhol” like-“Mridanga”, “joy-dhol”, “bar-dhol”, “nagara”, “daba”, “dagar”, “dundhubhi”, “danbaree”, “madat” etc. Instruments made of bronze are “taal”, “mandera”, “khunjuri” etc. Banbao made musical instruments are-“taka”,”gagana”, etc. and clay-made instruments-“hutuli” etc.

The Assamese people wear very simple dresses and mostly weak hand loomed clothes. The traditional dress worn by womenfolk of Assam is called ‘Mekhela-Chadar’ or ‘Riha-Mekhela’. This traditional dress in made from the prestigians  ‘Muga Silk‘ which is the peculiartity,  as well as the pride of Assam. They also ‘dokhora’ and dresses like salwar suit sari etc. The traditional dress worn by the menfolk of Assam is ‘suria’ or ‘dhoti’ and ‘kameez’ or ‘shirt’ and over it a chadar known as ‘Seleng’ is spread.

 The people of Assam are also very fond of beautiful and exclusive ornaments made of gold and silver and varieties of jewels. The traditional ornaments worn by menfolk of Assam are ‘Biri’, ‘Magardana’, ‘Matamoni’, ‘Kundal’ and ‘Lokaparo’ and the traditional ornaments worn by the womenfolk of Assam are ‘Keru’, ‘Karphul’, ’Kharu’, ‘Aargathi’, ‘Nalak’, ‘Keyur’, ‘Nupur’ etc.

Rice is the main food of Assamese people. Some potatable items made from rice are ‘Muri’, ‘Aakhoi’, ‘Chera’, ‘Sandal’ etc. Pitha is a kind of rice-cake makes an integral food item of the Assamese plate during the festival of Bihu and other major occasions. Some of these are ‘til-pitha’, ‘tel-pitha’, ‘chunga-pitha’, ‘trkili-pitha’ etc. The most lovable and relishable item of Assamese people is ‘Khar’, which is reddish curry seasored with alkali. They made varieties of tasty curries of fish ‘kharisa’ a kind of picker prepared from Bamboo shoots, is vastly consumed and ‘kharali’ and ‘kahudi’ are other favorite food items of Assamese people.

Assam is also known for its variety of handloom and handicraft items which represent the artistic skill of the Assamese craftsmen. Useful articles made of care and bamboo are very popular. The handloom products of Assam like cotton and ‘Mejankari’ are very famous. Specially the silk clothes of Assam which comprises ‘Eri’, ‘Muga’ and ‘P at are widely accepted all over the world. The intricately women  traditional ‘Gamocha’ are unique and are being regarded as very respectable.

Assamese people love to play local games like kabaddi, boat-race, tang-goote, cock-fight, bull-fight, egg-fight etc.

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