Rongali Bihu in Calgary

Rongali Bihu celebration in Calgary, Canada

RongaliBihu is fervently awaited JatiyaUhshav for all Assamese over the globe. HereprobahiAhomiyaRaizalso wait eagerly with excitement to celebrateRangaliBihuevery year inCalgary. Finally the excitement was over after celebration of Rongali Bihu on 15th April,2017 in Scandinavian Community centreby Assam Association of Alberta(AAA) with pomp and show.  Around 150 + people attended the event. Unlike usual Rongali Bihu this year’s event was lavish, elaborate and dignified. They also had delegates and guests from Indian High Commission, Ottawa; Member of Parliament,Ottawa, city of Calgary Mayor, members from Rotary Club Calgary and executive committee members from Calgary Marathi Association. Participants were not only within Assamese culture but also fromvarious other cultures like Peruvian, Chinese, Columbian, Scottish etc. This Global way Celebration of Bihu probably happened first time in North America.

Thedignified and magnificent show begin with ourbeautiful national anthems ‘O Canada’ and ‘Jana Gana Mana’ followed by welcomingspeech of Mr. Arup Goswami,Vice president of Assam Association of North America(AANA); a speech by our guest speakerMr. Darshan Kang, Member of Parliament and another speech by Mr.BidhuSkekhar, counsellor of Indian High Commission India, Ottawa. Each one of them was welcomed by the executive committee members from Assam Association of Alberta with a traditional Japiand a gamusa.All of them were pleased to wear the traditional Japi and Gamusa.

The cultural program started with a Jhumur dance by the children of Assam Association of Alberta. Traditionally Jhumur is a dance form of tribal groups of eastern India like Jharkhand,Odisha, West Bangal and Assam.The participants were AnanyaSarma, Maya Dutta Boruah, Riana Dutta, Rosewell Max Das, Rivan Dutta, Shivan Dutta, DhruvDadlani,IvyleneDeka, Hiya Dutta Boruah and Quartz Das. Everyone was mesmerized to see the excellent performance of each one from 5years old to 20 years old in the group.Next performance was a Highland dance by two little girls accompanied by anadult.It is astyle of competitive solo dancing developed in Scottish Highland.Their dance postures were noticeable. While they danced they moved like a butterfly and make the number 8. The awesome performance of the two little girls definitely stole everyone’s heart.Next to Highland dance was a Huaylarshdance by Peru dance group was a very eye catching because of the rhythm and colourful costumes. They also performed an Anaconda dance which is a fascinating traditional folk dance of Amazon region of Peru, dedicated to a water serpent that thrives in the Amazon River. The costumes were made out of dry grass or hay. While they danced a lady in the middle wore an artificial anaconda too on her neck likeMahadev, ourHindu God.It is a great success ofAAAto bring both cultures of Amazon and Brahmaputra Rivertogether in Rongali Bihu 2017.

The Peru dance was followed by a beautiful line dance by a group of Chinese girls. The music of the dance was very soothing and the girls wore white dresses to match with the music while moving like a wind with the rhythm.After that the performance of aLatin dance by a Columbian group was splendid too. The colourful skirts of the girls were flared like an umbrella to move beautifully with the rhythm. This traditional dance is most popular and well-known style in Columbia originated during the Spanish colonial period. African drums and Indian flutes dominated the sound. Next the Lion dance by White Brow Hap-Ging-Do Martial Arts and Lion Association was an eye catching one too. The children in the hall were very excited to see the two huge lions danced on the floor. A lion dance is a traditional Chinese dance performs on big occasions, such as the Spring Festival or Chinese New Year for good luck. It is believed that the lion is auspicious animal. The last but not the least was theBihu Hussori performed by a group of men and women fromAssam Association of Alberta. The crowd looked very excited when Hussoristarted. The vibrant colour of men’s costumes andMuga silksadormekhela of women were able to catch everyone’s eye. The foot tapping rhythmic beatofdhool,pepa ,gogonacouldn’t hold people  onto their seats for long and finally all stood up to clap hands to catch the rhythm. The whole ambience filled with Bihu mood just like Assam.

The main attraction of the night was a documentary on Assam called ‘Mahabahu Brahmaputra’. The documentary covered most of the topics like SrimantaShankardev, JyotiprashadAgarwala, Dr. BhupenHazarila, PratimaBarua Pandey, Ratneshwar Pathak, BishnuRabha, dehbisarokgeet, Jhumurgeet, tea garden, oil refinery, Kamakhya temple, Manash and Kaziranga national park, muga silk, Assam silk, Majuli and Satras, Rong-ghar, Karengghar, religions,bhawna, uja-pali and many more to describe. The documentary was produced by ManashiGoswami, made by AbhishrutiDutta Boruah and narrated by SumanaBarua. In between there were songs performed by SaumyaBarua, PrashantaBarthakur, PaporiBarthakur, AghoreBathacharya, Asif Saikia, Malika Rahman and GeetasreeGogoiApte. The MC  SumanaBarua did an excellent job in the entire evening. Rimlee Dutta collected the artifacts from the community to display at the venue.

The host committee was supposed to wind up then with everyone’s surprise City of Calgary Mayor Mr. NaheedNenshi appeared in the hall and made the crowd more excited. Mr. Nenshi was the recipient of the World Mayor prize in 2014 by the World Mayor project and also the most popular mayor in the country. Mr. Nenshi started his speech with an Assamese line ‘Rongali BihuaruNotunBosor r HubhaichaJonalu’, which means Happy Rangali Bihu and Happy New year to you all. After his speech excited crowd got up to take pictures with him. He mixed with the crowd and left the venue after his wonderful speech.

Food is always the heart of Assamese people. It says that Assamese ladies can weavehatotelukuwaarumuthitehukuwa (hiden in a palm and dry in a fist) cloth within a night. They always take pride to make traditional snacks during Bihu festival wherever in the world. Calgary Assamese ladies too made scrumptious snacks like ghilapitha, narikol r laru, bogapitha, pati septa pitha, bora sawuletc for the guests. Guests from different cultures enjoyed the Bihu snacks. The event was ended with a very delicious dinner together with Mr.BidhuSkekhar, Mr. DarshanKang ,guests from Rotary Club and members from Executive committee of Calgary Marathi Association.