Rongali Bihu 2013 celebration in New Jersey

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-By Shravani Sarma, Binapani Sarmah Photo By: Kaushik Das

The North-East-Indian/Assamese community of greater NY, NJ, CT, PA, DE areas celebrated Rongali Bihu 2013 festival with great fanfare on April 13 2013 at Linwood Middle School, North Brunswick NJ. It was celebrated under the aegis of the North East Indian American Cultural Organization.

The day proceeded with kids games. Kids participated in spoon and marble race, one-legged race and musical chairs. It was obvious to all attendees that the kids fervently enjoyed the games. Meanwhile, a great spread of Indian and Assamese snacks was laid out for all to enjoy.
The Cultural evening was started with the flag hoisting ceremony, which was done by the young kids in traditional “Bihuwan”. This was accompanied by the song "Sreemoi Axomi" rendered by the many talented singers from the community.
Kids Cultural program was initiated by the youngest members of the community singing "Koka Deuta Koka Deuta". Kids performed various individual and group items that included poetry recitation, songs, piano recitals, and dances. The proud look on the parents' faces was a joy to watch! The parents and the kids alike worked hard to maintain some of the cultural traditions of music and dance from back home.
The Adults program kicked off to a great start by a chorus in Assamese. This was followed by great performances of songs, dances and Bihu Hussori by some very fine artists. Notable were the Bodo traditional dance, Bihu dances, Assamese and Hindi modern dances, and great vocal performances. It was passionately enjoyed by all attendees and truly a memorable cultural evening.
There was also an amazing exhibition of flower arrangements with Bihu theme and Laru-pitha display and competition, in which significant number of people zealously participated.
The Cultural evening was brought to a great end by Mukoli Bihu in which all the ‘Bihu Bolia’ adults and children ardently joined in, followed by the Jatiyo Sangeet "O Mur Aapunar Dex".
All the guests then made a beeline for the sumptuous dinner of Indian and Assamese cuisine that was served.
It was an extraordinary evening that brought a nostalgic feeling of traditions of Assam and Rongali Bihu to all present. It gave us all an opportunity to connect with friends, make new friends and renew our connections to our roots.
The Assamese community of the Northeast United States wishes you and your families a wonderful 'Rongali Bihu' and a very happy Assamese New Year.

Grand Celebration of Rongali Bihu in Boston

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-By Parthajit Baruah

As the pages of the calendar turned to April, the Assamese community could start drawing mental pictures of Kopou phul, hear the sweet sounds of Kuli-Keteki and the youth dancing to dhol-pepa-gogona in the distant fields. After months of despair in the cold New England weather, they were ready to welcome spring and Bohag Bihu. In eager anticipation, they spent weeks of practice late into the nights to celebrate Bohag Bihu. Organizers did not leave any stone unturned to make it a spectacular celebration of color, pomp and gaiety.
So on April 13, 2013, all roads in New England led to the Armenian Church in Worcester, MA. In one of the heaviest turnouts in recent years, people thronged the venue dressed in their colorful Mekhela-sadors and elegant dhoti-punjabis. The place was brimming with enthusiasm.
After savoring home made pithas and ladus, people were ready for some song and dance. The evening started with a collective singing of "Srimoyee Axomi" and the 2013 edition of Rongali Bihu was declared open by Shri Himendra Borthakur. It was followed by a sweet rendition of Jyotiprasad Agarwala's "Seuji Seuji" which set the tone for one delightful performance after another. The kids performed Bihu dances, solo keyboard and saxophone recitals, danced to the tunes of songs from evergreen Assamese movies like "Dr. Bezbaruah" and "Aranya" and Bollywood movies. The performances were a treat to watch and touched one's heart. The bouquet of performances put together by the adults was gorgeous and colorful too - there were a number of Bihu dances, a medley of Bihu songs and some popular numbers, own compositions, violin and guitar recitals, a skit and a number of other programs that brought the audience to its feet. The cultural event culminated with a Bihu Husori and Mukoli Bihu where everyone danced their hearts out. Tributes were paid to the icons of the Assamese cultural scene whom we lost in the past one year.
The evening ended with a grand buffet dinner as people chatted in groups, indulged in photo opportunities and exchanged pleasantries, strengthening the bond that binds the growing New England Assamese community together. As people thanked the current team for a great job organizing these events, a new leadership team was formed to guide us to many more fun get-togethers.

Dallas Forth Worth Bohag Bihu

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-By Pankaj

On the 20th of April 2013, the Assamese community of Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) metropolis celebrated Bohag Bihu in a joyous and spirited way just as they have been doing for years.  The greater Texas  Bohag bihu at Houston was celebrated a week earlier where a number of DFW Assamese families attended as well. The DFW Bihu covered those that could not go to Houston.  It was a double treat for some of us as who were able to attend both the events.

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The DFW Bihu evening was a two hour long cultural treat consisting of programs such  as Husori, Zikir, chorus, Ladies group dance, Children’s group dance and medley, skit, individual songs  and a Sattriya nritya  performance. Participation and concerted effort from all residents were evident in the variety and in the quality of the programs presented.
The colorful evening was graced by many visiting parents of the DFW residents’ whose presence and encouragements added its grace and elegance  to the celebration. The Husori did full justice to the sanctity and fanfare of the tradition. There were two dhols, two pairs of taals to keep rhythm while energetic man folks danced and sang to make it a grand performance.  It ended with Axirbad in keeping with the tradition .

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Zikir , of a devotional folk song genre introduced by Azan Fakir,  a saint of the late 17th century , to the Assam region , was performed by the energetic youths of the metropolis . The chosen zikir was  Saheb Jai Agote,  one of the  many gems from  Dr. Bhupen Hazarika’s creations.
A Sattriya or Sattriya Nritya performance in full costume was a notable individual presentation among others. Sattriya or Sattriya Nritya is one among eight principal classical Indian dance traditions. The tradition of Sattriya nritya is a big testimony to Sankardev’s  genius , it is an accompaniment to the Ankia Naat (a form of Assamese one-act plays devised by him), which were usually performed in the sattras, as Assam's monasteries are called.
The children were just amazing. Their Bihu dances and synchronization rivaled the grown ups.
Ai Saraswati O’ , another one of Dr. Bhupen Hazarika’s  famed creation was presented as a dance drama sequence, and was very pleasant to watch.
The ladies team presented a group dance item and was very spectacular. This  bihu dance with Japi in hand was indeed among  the other high light of the evening. Three Individual song sequence presentations by three different artists in tandem were admired and applauded by all. A light hearted skit staged on the theme of an old man’s dilemma to be forced into granting donations to some unlikely mix of free-loaders was well received by the audience.
Some of the younger kids’ individual performances were particularly delightful to watch.
The DFW Bihu 2013 was hosted in a decked up hall that set the ambience for a great evening. The energy and enthusiasm dissipated throughout the hall culminated in a boisterous outbreak of bihu songs and mukoli bihu dance by all that went on well past the mid-night.

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