15 years back I left Assam, India making a new home in Connecticut, USA. I left a few festive, fair, smell, fragrance, family, friends and much more. While you leave something at the same time you gain a few too. You all might know that at this time in India, Indians celebrate the most glorious festival Diwali "A celebration of light". As I am from the eastern part of India, Bihu is the fulcrum festival. After coming to the USA, we started celebrating Diwali as equally as Bihu. We love preparing sweets and exchanging with friends and putting lights to decorate the house with candles and Diyas earthen lamps. With our neighbor, we celebrate Diwali where kids perform dance and music with all the cultural programs and an array of good Indian food. We celebrate our roots and heritage, trying to give kids the essence of India.
|Kati Bihu celebration. Photo Credit - Parasha Konwer|
Along with Diwali, back in Assam India, we celebrate one festival called Kati Bihu or Kongali Bihu. This Bihu is not as grand as Rongali Bihu or Bhogali Bihu. All Assamese festivals are associated with harvest. Since this Bihu falls before the harvest that's why it is called kongali Bihu, Kongali means poor. Place Earthen lamps (diyas) in storage (bhoral), gate and front of the kitchen for praying for good harvest according to local belief. Planting basil tree and placing earthen diyas and offering prasad (Soak chickpeas and Moog with fresh cut fruit) is a ritual and kids visit you for prasad. As a kid, I used to visit our neighbors and friends. But later when I grew up, I recall kids were not coming for prasad and the tradition slowly becoming extinct. Now when I look back at those nostalgic years, it lights up my heart just like Diwali Diyas. Here along with Diwali, we celebrate Halloween too. My kids go for Halloween Trick or Treat in our close tidy neighborhood for candies. I see a glimpse of my childhood in them, celebrating Kati Bihu. With our Halloween decore Diwali Diyas and candles get equally placed too. Our whole neighboorhood fills up with Halloween decor and Diwali Diyas. Everything oozes same merriment and joy of festivity. I couldn't differentiate whether it is because of Halloween or Diwali.