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Guwahati is a city of amalgamated cultures. People of several communities and religions live in and around the city. All of these communities and sections of the society celebrate different festivals throughout the year and that is why Guwahati is known as the ‘City of Festivals’. The main festivals celebrated here are Bihu, Me-Dum-Me-Phi, Durga Puja, Eid, Christmas, Diwali and Holi among the others.
Some of the festivals celebrated in Guwahati are discussed in details here:
Bihu in Guwahati
In Assam, Bihu is the most important festival and the same goes for Guwahati as well. The Assamese celebrate Bihu which is primarily of three types.
Rongali Bihu / Bohag Bihu:
This bihu marks the start of the Assamese new year. Bohag is the first month of the a Assamese calendar year and so the name Bohag bihu. It is also called Rongali bihu and falls in the middle of the month of April. It also marks the beginning of the agricultural season. During this bihu, pithas, laaroos and other assamese delicacies are made and consumed by the people. The young take the blessings of the older by bowing down and touching their feet which is a tradition.
Kongali Bihu / Kati Bihu:
Also known as Kati Bihu, Kongali Bihu is during the month of October. This Bihu is a festival of less merriment since it is during the time when the agriculture and harvest is less and so people light earthen lamps in order to pray to Tulsi plant, granary, the paddy fields and garden. The earthen lamp called the ‘axabonti’ is lit on bamboo poles to show the way to the souls of the dead towards heaven.
Bhogali Bihu / Magh Bihu:
This bihu is the festival of Feast and merry making. It is during this time that the harvest is rich and so people have feast together. The bihu is in the month of Assamese month ‘Magh’ and January according to the English calendar. The first night of Bihu is called ‘Uruka’ when people feast together and they build a cottage like tower with hay which is known as Bhela Ghar. This is burnt in the morning of Bihu and it is said that winter is bid farewell with the burning fire of the Bhela Ghar. And then everyone has ‘Doi-seera’ together: family and friends.
Held in the month of June every year, Ambubachi Mela is a very important fair and festival which is celebrated every year in Guwahati. Legends say that this is the month during which Goddess Kamakhya goes through her menstrual cycle period and hence all the temple doors remain closed. After three days, the temple doors are opened and then different rituals are conducted in the temple premises. Thousands of devotees from different parts of the country come to Guwahati during this time.
Me-Dum-Me-Phi is an important festival of the Ahom community. The festival is a prayer to the ancestors for showing them respect and gratitude for their contribution. The festival derived its name from the words ‘Me’ meaning offerings, ‘Dum’ meaning ancestors and ‘Phi’ meaning God. Thus the festival is a remembrance to the ancestors and the dead.
Durga Puja in Guwahati
Durga Puja is a festival which is celebrated with joy and pomp. Since ‘Sashthi’ Durga Puja is celebrated with full merriment for five long days. After ‘Sashthi’ comes ‘Saptami’, ‘Asthami’, ‘Navami’ and then ‘Dashami’. Pandals can be seen everywhere in the place during the month of October/November when Durga Puja occasion takes place.
Diwali in Guwahati
Diwali is a festival of lights and it is celebrated with great pomp like in most cities of India. The city looks amazing with lights everywhere. Diyas, candles and electric lights are seen everywhere. Fire crackers can be seen burning everywhere and people continuing the fun for two long nights. It is during these festive season that the entire city comes together as one.
Holi in Guwahati
Holi is another festival that is full of colours and celebrated in Guwahati with all smiles and laughter. This festival of colours is celebrated amongst all communities irrespective of any caste and creed. The festival witnesses different colours around the city. People play in and around the city with special dance stages around the cities like raindance where people play and dance simultaneously.
Eid Celebration in Guwahati
The main festival of the Muslims, Eid is also celebrated in Guwahati. And people go to each other’s places and have feast. Prayer services are held together and people pray to Allah for blessings.
Christmas in Guwahati
Though the Christian community is a minor one here in Guwahati yet Christmas bells can be heard tinkling in the month of December. The church here is beautifully decorated with carols sung in unison. People visit the church here and go for prayer services on Christmas and pay their homages.
Guwahati is a city of festival and fun and people here never step back in celebrating life. Any form of festival is celebrated here with full devotion and heart.