Assam

By Anureshmi Manoj

introduction

Assam is a northeastern state of India. Its capital is Dispur, located at Guwahati. it is surrounded by other seven sisters: Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, and Meghalaya. Assam also shares international borders with Bhutan and Myanmar. With the "tropical monsoon rainforest climate", Assam is temperate (summer max.at 95-100 f or 35-38 c and winter min. at 43-46 f or 6-8 c). It is one of the richest biodiversity zones in the world and consists of tropical rainforests, deciduous forests, riverine grasslands, bamboo orchards and numerous wetland.




culture

Culture of Assam includes great hospitality and bamboo culture. Some of the common and unique cultural traits in the region are people's respect towards :



  • areca nut and betel leaves,
  • symbolic,
  • traditional silk garments (mekhela chador),
  • forefathers and elderly.



Majuli - the Cradle of Assamese Culture

symbolism

Symbolism is an ancient cultural practice in Assam and is still a very important part of Assamese way of life. Various elements are being used to represent beliefs, feelings, pride, identity, etc. Tamulpan, xorai and Gamosa are three important symbolic elements in Assamese culture. Tamulpan (the areca nut and betel leaves) or guapan are considered along with the Gamosa (a typical woven cotton or silk cloth with embroidery) as the offers of devotion, respect and friendship. The Tamulpan-tradition is an ancient one and is being followed since time-immemorial with roots in the aboriginal Austro-Asiatic culture. xorai is a traditionally manufactured bell-metal article of great respect and is used as a container-medium while performing respectful offers.


festivals

There are diversified important traditional festivals in Assam. Bihu is the most important and common and celebrated all over Assam. It is the Assamese new year celebrated in April of the Gregorian calendar. Durga puja is another festival celebrated with great enthusiasm. Muslims celebrate two Eids (Eid ul-fitr and Eia al-adha) with much eagerness all over Assam.

Bihu is a series of three prominent festivals. Primarily a non-religious festival celebrated to mark the seasons and the significant points of a cultivator's life over a yearly cycle.


Bihu (বিহু) National festival and the most popular festival of ASSAM

MUSIC, DANCE, DRAMA

Assam has rich tradition of performing arts. ankia naat (onkeeya naat) is a traditional Vaishnav dance-drama (bhaona) form popular since 15th century AD It makes use of large masks of gods, goddesses, demons and animals and in between the plays a Sutradhar (Xutrodhar) keeps on telling the story. Other forms are:



  • hucory,
  • bihu dance,
  • banjar kekan,
  • mishing bihu.
At the same time musical tradition is also rich. Folk songs and music related to Bihu and other festivals dates back to time-immemorial. borgeet, the popular Vaishnav songs are written and composed in 15th century. Assam has large numbers of traditional musical instruments including several types of drums, string instruments, flutes, cymbals, pipes, etc.


INDIAN FOLK DANCES - BIHU FROM ASSAM -21
16th Annual Day Assam Folk Dance

cuisine

Typically, an Assamese plate would contain bhaat (rice) with dal (lentils), masor jool (fish curry), with mangso (meat curry) or xaak and bhaji (herbs and vegetables).

Rice is one of the main dish in Assam, and variety of different rices are grown and eaten in different ways, roasted, grounded, boiled or just soaked.

Fish curries made of rou, illish, or chitol are the most favorite.

The food is usually served in bell metal utensils.