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US President extends Bihu, Pohela Boishakh greetings

US President Joe Biden has extended his greetings to the people celebrating festivals such as Rongali Bihu, Pohela Boishakh and Sankranti, among others.

Taking to his official Facebook page, Biden wrote: “Jill and I send our warmest wishes to the many South Asian and Southeast Asian communities celebrating Vaisakhi, Navratri, and the incoming New Year across the country this week.

“Happy Aluth Avurudda, Happy Bihu, Happy Cheti Chand, Happy Gudi Padwa, Happy Khmer New Year, Happy Navreh, Happy Pohela Boishakh, Happy Pana Sankranti, Happy Pi Mai, Happy Puthandu, Happy Rongali Bihu, Happy Songkran, Happy Tamil New Year, Happy Ugadi, and Happy Vishu! In this season of hope, we are wishing this New Year brings you and your families prosperity and light.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also greeted the people celebrating these festivities.

Amid a resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, the northeastern states from Wednesday started celebrating Bohag Bihu or Rongali Bihu, Makar Sankranti and Pohela Boishakh with traditional fervour and enthusiasm.

A festive atmosphere prevailed in the residential areas, villages and mela (fair) grounds in the region, mostly in five of the eight northeastern states — Assam, Tripura, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya.

Three Bihus are the main festivals in Assam — ‘Rongali’ or ‘Bohag Bihu’ observed in mid-April, ‘Kongali’ or ‘Kati Bihu’ observed in mid-October and ‘Bhogali’ or ‘Magh Bihu’ in mid-January.

The ‘Rongali Bihu’ is the most important and colourful of the three. All the three Bihu festivals could not be celebrated last year due to the Covid situation and the agitations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

Assam’s week-long spring festival, ‘Rongali Bihu’, started on Wednesday with the first day being dedicated to cattle. Before the actual ‘Rongali’ starts on Thursday, the ‘Garu Bihu’ is observed on Wednesday when all the households in villages bathe their cows by the riverside.

People also exchange various gifts, including the traditional ‘Gamocha’ (a white piece of cloth with a red border having a customary pattern), with their near and dear ones as a mark of love.