The Assam Association of Greater Chicago celebrated Rongali Bihu festivities with music, dance, and food at the Holiday Inn in Schaumburg, Ill., April 15. Of the three Bihu festivals celebrated in the state of Assam, Rongali Bihu is without a doubt the most festive and joyous. All three Bihus owe their origin to the historically agrarian roots of Assamese society, with Rongali Bihu marking the start of a new year as the farmers get ready to sow the rice fields. Throughout Assam, the festival is celebrated with dancing and feasting.
The April 15 celebrations began with a chorus singing “O Mur Apunar Dexh,” followed by an adult chorus rendering Jyoti Prasad Agarwala’s “Ture Mure Alokore Jatra,” while a kids chorus then presented “Gose Gose Pati Dile.” Several groups also presented folk dances highlighting both the traditional and modern cultural aspects of Assam. Songs ranged from immortal favorites like Agarwala’s compositions to modern Assamese tunes by Zubeen Garg, and evergreen Hindi favorites to contemporary Bollywood hits. A solo Bihu dance and a graceful and rhythmic Goalparia folk dance by a trio of ladies were highlights of the evening. The audience were also treated to a performance by the Indus Masti group with their four-dimensional show for the first time on the Chicago stage. Finally, as a tribute to the land where we now live, a medley of classic songs in English closed out the structured part of the cultural function.
Midway through the cultural function, O. P. Meena, consul for Information and Culture at the Indian Consulate (Chicago) addressed the gathering and extended best wishes for the celebration. He was felicitated with a gamocha, a woven cloth of Assam.
After an excellent dinner, most of the attendees stepped up on the stage to take part in the Mukoli Bihu, primarily an opportunity for everyone to show off their dance moves.