Assam is a North-Eastern state of India, features a hybrid culture that has evolved with times. Its culture is a mixing pot where rituals, customs, heritage, lifestyle, faith and beliefs of various people are assimilated. Be it dance, cuisine, language, arts and crafts or fairs and festivals, Assam has identified itself with a distinctive cultural heritage. 

Arts and Culture of assam

One of the important cultural symbols of the Assamese is Gamocha. It is an integral part of every socio-religious ceremony. The Gamocha is a white rectangular piece of cotton handwoven cloth with mainly a red border on three sides and red woven motifs on the fourth side. It is used by each person in Assam, 
irrespective of his/her religious or ethnic background. 

Festivals of Assam 

Assam is a homeland of varied ethnic group migrated from different parts of the religion in different period of history and so it has various cultures with distinct characteristics. In Assam, there are three broad types of festivals Agricultural, Religious and Social festivales. 

Agricultural Festivals (Bihu) 

Like many other community festivals, Bihu is a festival related with agriculture. Living an aboriginal life, when man started to live on agriculture the festival took shape either as pre-harvesting or post-harvesting festivals. The rights and traditions of the festivals are therefore related to the fertility cult. At the beginning of a new agricultural cycle 

when nature becomes pregnant with sprouting leaves and blooming flowers, men and women in a jubilant mood dance and sing invoking for good crops. The ‘Bihu’ festival of Assam is an ancient cultural heritage of the Assamese people, the origin of which is difficult to trace out. 

Etymologically, its roots can be traced to ‘Vishuvat’ a Sanskrit term referring to the 
Vishuva Sankranti. Of course, the use of this word is not confirmed in Assamese society. There are three types of Bihu namely ‘Bohag Bihu’, ‘Kati Bihu’ and ‘Magh Bihu 

Bohag Bihu 

As the cuckoo’s melodious voice echoes in the hills and vales of the state heralding spring and the sound of the Dhol vibrates in the air, it times to celebrate Bohag Bihu or Rongali Bihu, one of the greatest festivals of the state. 

At the advent of the spring when nature emerges in her glorious attitude with all her beauty and bounty, the Assamese community celebrates its national festival Bohag Bihu with 
traditional gaiety and enthusiasm. It has been celebrated in this land of Red river and Blue hills since time immemorial. Most of the tribes celebrate Bohag Bihu in their own traditional style. Bodo, Kacharies observe it as Baisagu whereas Tiwas call it Bisu. Dearies call it as Bahagiyo Bihu, while Rabhas observe it as Nabavarsa. 

The plain Karbis call it as Johang Pula and Tai Phakes observe it as Pani Bihu. The Rongali Bihu starts on the last day of the month of Choit or Chaitra. This day is called the ‘Goru Bihu’ day because on this day people bath their cows and oxes, feed them cakes and tie them with new ropes and perform several rites for their welfare. The second day is the Manuh Bihu and this is the first day of the month of 

The ceremonies performed on this day are mainly concerned with and intended for 
each other and youngster pay respect and homage to their elders and take new Gamochas. Though these two are the main days of Bohag Bihu, but it is celebrated for 7 days. The other 5 days are Tator Bihu (for loom), Gosain Bihu (for God), Nangalor Bihu (for plough), Bihu for domestic animals and Chera Bihu (concluding day of the Bihu). Throughout the month, young men and women sing Bihu songs and dances to the  accompaniment of various musical instruments like Dhol (drum), Taal (cymbals) 
and Pepa (pipes). Such songs and dances are known as ‘Hucharies’. 

Formerly such Hucharies were performed by young men and women in the village fields and 
groves. Now-a-days, only men including the elders mostly move from house to house to sing and dance Hucharies. Bihu song and dances are performed on stages also before huge gatherings. In addition to Huchori and other Bihu songs, people also enjoy various traditional games and sports. 

Kati Bihu 

The Kati Bihu or the Kongali Bihu is celebrated during the month of Kati when almost every article becomes scarce. People light earthen lamps near Tulsi (black basil) plants and in their fields and silently pray for a good harvest and a full granary

Magh Bihu 

It begins on the 1st day of the month Puh and ends on the first day of Magh. This Bihu is called ‘Bhogali Bihu’ because it is held after the annual harvest and is a festival enjoyment (Bhog) mainly of food. The day before the first day of Magh Bihu is Uruka day. On this day people eat huge feast in the evening and pass the night amid merriment beside fire inside camps, known as ‘Bhelaghar’ made of bamboo 
and straw. Next morning they light huge bonfires, known as ‘Mejis’ and offer prayers to the God of Fire. Then they eat several kinds of delicious food like chira, pitha, akhoi, doi etc. 

After that they go to the open fields and witness several traditional games and sports like buffalo fight, cock fight and wrestling as well as many modern games and sports. 

Social Festival 

The various communities of Assam traditionally celebrate their own social festivals. Some of them are mentioned as- Suddhi, Annaprashan, Churakaran, Tolani Biya, 
Upanayan, Joran, Biya (wedding), Aath Mongla etc. 

Religious Festivals 

Assam is the land of anthropological museum. Diversity is the main character in greater Assamese national life, civilisation and culture. Many tribes and castes are inhabitant in Assam. Mythological and legendary faith related with the Assamese civilisation since ancient times. In the basis of mythological and legendary faith, different caste and tribes celebrate different religious festival in Assam. So, we try to include here a few informations of some religious festivals which are celebrated 
in Assam. 

These are Ali-Aiye-Lrigang It is a famous religious festival related to the cultivation. It is mainly celebrated by the ‘Missing Tribes’ of Assam. It is celebrated for 5 days, starting from the first Wednesday of the Assamese month of ‘Fagun’. ‘Gumarag’ dance is also a part of this festival arranged by the ‘Missing’ youth. 

Bash Puja 

It is religious and folk festival celebrated by the ‘Hajong’ and ‘Rajbongshi’ at undivided Goalpara district in the spring season. The cleaning bamboos are represented as the symbol of God ‘Madan’ and ‘Gopal’. In this festival, females are not allowed. The young and the old men together perform songs and dances with various musical instruments to satisfy the God. ‘Bash’ worship is divided into four parts as ‘Madan Kam’, ‘Kamdeva’, ‘Satali Bash’ and ‘Akal Bash’. 

Bathow Puja 

It is a religious festival celebrated by the ‘Bodo’ tribes. They believe and worship ‘Bathow’ or ‘Sibrai’ as their Prime God. The ‘Siju’ plant is represented as the symbol of their Prime God ‘Baithow’. Generally, they celebrate this festival two times in a year. Under the Siju Plant of the altar they offer a round stone and eggs of hen for their chief ‘Baithow’. They also offer wine and meat for their God. Deodhani and Kherai dance are also performed by them to satisfy their God. 

Biswakarma Puja 

It is celebrated on 17th September every year. It is a religious festival of Hinduism. It is believed that God ‘Biswakarma’ created the Earth. So, the devotees arrange this worship to satisfy God Biswakarma. It is widely celebrated in all the industries and at their home who own cars and machinery equipments. 

Fakuwa or Doljatra 

It’s a religious and seasonal festival, basically celebrated at springtime. The great vaishnavite saint Srimanta Sankardeva first introduced Dol or Fakuwa festival in Assam. Dol festival is widely celebrated in all the Bishnu Devalayas and Satras of Assam. Special songs are sung in the festival known as ‘Holy Geet’. The Dol 
festival of Kirtan Ghar of Barpeta is most colourful and popular. 


It is the religious festival of Muslims. Generally, Eid-ul-Fitre and Eid-ul-Zoha are celebrated every year which are also known as ‘Ramjan Id’ and ‘Bakri Id’. According to the Muslim tradition, ‘Ramjan’ is the holy month. That is why in this certain month they are in fasting and in the end of the month they widely celebrate the ‘Ramjan Id’. ‘Bakri Id’ is celebrated as the symbol of sacrifice. As per the direction of the Koran, muslims donate cows, goats, camels etc as per their capability. 


It is the national and religious festival widely celebrated on the birth anniversaries of Lord Krishna by the devotees. It is mainly celebrated commonly at Namgarh or at Bishnu temple or at own house. The devotees explain the birth history of the Lord Krishna in the form of songs in Janmashtami festival. Lord Krishna was born at midnight, which is why Janmashtami festival is also celebrated at night in a certain day of Assamese month of ‘Bhado’ every year. 

Kali Puja 

The worship of Goddess Kali is widely celebrated by the devotees with Diwali in a certain day of the Assamese 
month Kati. Goddess Kali represents the symbol of power. It is celebrated at temples and individual houses also. 


It is the seasonal and religious festival related to the cultivation. Bodos traditionally and widely celebrate the Baithow puja andrepresent the Siju plant as their Prime God below Bathow. Kherai dance festival is a part of Bathow Puja. ‘Kham’, ‘Chifung’, ‘Ringi’, ‘Bamtal’, ‘Owa’, ‘Khowang’ ‘Bangana’ etc are musical instrument which are used in Kherai dance. It is believed that Kherai festival can satisfy the 
Goddess and increase the production of cultivation. 

Lakshmi Puja 

It is a religious festival celebrated in Poornima night of the autumn season. It is believed in Hinduism that Lakshmi is the chief Goddess of wealth and property. Therefore, desiring the common and individual welfare and development, the Lakshmi Puja is celebrated. The devotees widely arrange Lakshmi Puja individually at their own home or commonly at public temples or Namghar. 


It is one of the folk festivals basically celebrated in lower Assam. The Assamese 
people believe that after this festival ‘mosquitoes’ are decreased. To drive out the 
mosquitoes, the youth celebrate the Maho-ho festival at Poornima night of the Assamese month Aghon. Maho-ho songs and dance are performed by the youths in every home in the poornima night of Aghon. 


It is celebrated on the 5th day of the birth anniversaries of Lord Krishna. It is celebrated in all the satras and temples generally by the women with great joy and enthusiasm. The women keep fasting the whole day and celebrate Pachati at night at night. In this festival ‘Naam’ and ‘Bhaona’ also are performed by the women. 

Saraswati Puja 

It is chief Goddess of education. Therefore to satisfy and expecting the grace of Goddess Saraswati, all the students widely celebrate the worship, commonly in all the educational institutions, schools and colleges or individually at own house. Temporary temples known as ‘Mandap’ are constructed attractively. Inside the ‘Mandap’, the statue of Goddess Saraswati is placed. With incense, resin, grams etc prays to Goddess and recites the ‘Strostra’ by the priest. 

Satya Narayan Puja 

Desiring the individual and social welfare the ‘Satyanarayan Puja’ is performed by the Hindus. It is generally performed by the people on the auspicious day of certain months in their own houses. The Brahmin priests perform the Satyanarayan Puja on behalf of the household. 


It is one of the famous and widely celebrated festivals of Assam. The devotees celebrate the festival to satisfy God Shiva. A few places of Assam where Shivaratri is held on a large scale are Sukleswar and Umananda temple (Kamrup Guwahati), the Shiva Dol (Sivasagar), the Mahabhairav temple etc. 

Tusu Puja 

It is one of the religious and female based festivals celebrated by the tea tribes of Assam. ‘Tusu’ is a Goddess of tea tribes. It isperformed in the Assamese month ‘Magh’. A colourful dance known as ‘Jhumur’ is also performed with great joy and enthusiasm as the part of ‘Tusu’ Puja. In addition to the above mentioned religious festivals, Assamese people also celebrate the birth and death anniversaries of 
Srimanta Sankardeva, Madhavdeva and other Vaishnavite are widely celebrated with Satriya dance, Naam, Bhowna etc in all the Satras and temples of Assam by the Vaishnavite, Ashokastami, Durga puja, Sitala puja, Deodhani puja etc. 


It is the Bodo Kachari version of the Bohag Bihu. This famous festival of colours and mirth is the most cherished festival of the Bodo tribe. Like Bohag Bihu, Baiswagu is a spring time festival celebrated in mid April (Bohag is the first month of Hindu calendar). The first day begins with the worship of cow and the second day with young people seeking blessings from elders. The Baiswagu draws no lines or bars. The musical instruments used in dance are Khum (drum), Jotha (Manjari), Khawbang 
(Taal), Mouth Organ and Siphung (flute). The supreme deity Bathow or Lord Shiva is worshipped during the festival. The festival ends by offering a prayer at ‘Garjasali’. 

Bohaggiyo Bishu 

It is the most fascinating spring festival of the Deoris of Assam, one of the four divisions of the Chutiyas. The term ‘Bishu’ must have originated from the Chutiya word ‘Bi’ means ‘extreme’ and ‘shu’ means ‘rejoicing’. Bohaggiyo Bishu is also observed during mid April of a stretch for 7 days. The Deoris observe the Tuesday as Uruka and the following day begins with offering prayers at ‘Thaan Ghar’ and performing sacrifices of animal as well Deodhani Nritya. 


It is the biggest festival of the Karbi community. It is essentially a spring festival 
beginning with the onset of the cultivation season. The main function of the festival 
involves propitiating different Gods and Goddesses for the welfare of the village. 
People offer prayers to the deities to keep away all diseases and natural calamities of course for having a good harvest. 


It is another important Mishing festival associated with agriculture. The festival marks the harvesting time of paddy. It is organised by member-yame (organisation of young adults). Murong (dormitory) is essential for the performance of porag. A Mibbo (priest) is summoned for prayer. Offerings are made to the creator Chedi melo, Doynee (Sun) and Polo (Moon). The festival continues for 3 days and ends with a prayer dance (ponu-urnam). 
Rajni Gabra and Hasni Gabra These are two main festivals of the Dimasa tribe of Assam. These festivals are celebrated annually before starting new cultivation. Rajni Gabra begins with Konang or the village gate, propitiating the family deity. The function of Harni Gabra is held at night when the presiding deity is worshipped. An interesting feature of these festivals is that if an outsider enters the function after the gates are closed, then the entire proceeding is considered spoit. 


Baikho or Khaksi is the biggest festival of the Rabha tribe of Assam. It is a spring time, fertility festival celebrated to propitiate the Goddess of wealth ‘Baikho’. The festival is mainly celebrated for enhancing the fertility of soil. It begins with religious ballads eulogising the heroic past of Rabhas. 


It is a special ceremony of the Karbis performed for the eternal peace of the 
deceased. This shouldn’t be mistaken for the funeral ceremony. It is performed at the later date and is one of the most expensive socio-religious ceremony of the Karbis. 

The Brahmaputra Beach Festival 

It is held every year on the beautiful riverine beaches of the river Brahmaputra during Magh Bihu. The festival offers a perfect blend of traditional contest like elephant race, kite flying, modern adventure sports like wind surfacing, rafting, canoeing kayaking, para-dropping, hot air ballooning, beach volley ball and beach cricket. The festival gives a scintillating outdoor experience one can ever have. 

Elephant Festival 

The forest and tourism department and Government of Assam jointly organise the ‘Elephant Festival’ every year at Kaziranga National Park, mainly intended for the 
conservation and protection of Asiatic elephants. The festival aims at creating awareness about the environment amongst people and to find out a solution 
to the ever increasing man-elephant conflict. It is one of the largest elephant festivals of India and a huge crowd-puller. Elephants are colourfully groomed as they move more gracefully in procession, running races and playing various games before an enthralled 

Dehing Patkai Festival 

The Government of Assam organises the Dehing Patkai Festival every January at 
Lekhapani, 70 kms from Tinsukia town. The festival derives its name from the lofty Patkai range and the mischievous Dehing river. It offers elephant safaris into the uncorrupted wilderness, as well as a trip to Stilwell Road that was once the passage to the Golden land of Myanmar. 

Another interesting fact about the festival is that about the festival is that it offers 
a trip to the II World War cemeteries, which speaks of history of the past. It can never be complete without the wide range of adventure sports that it offers on the banks and islands of the mighty Brahmaputra like parasiling, angling, kayaking and a variety of water sports. Besides, Craft mela, Food festival and Cultural 
programmes are also the regular attractions for the visitors to the festival. 

Tea Festival 

It is a unique festival celebrated in Assam. It is a festival where business meets pleasure. It is celebrated every year in November in Jorhat. This festival is all about tea, music and merriment. Tea is an indispensable part of the festival. Jangal safaris and Tea Garden visits are arranged. Various sports are organised like 
golfing, rafting, angling etc. 

Majuli Festival 

Majuli, world’s largest riverine island, holds the Majuli festival every year during the winter. The festival is arranged on the bank of river luit in a backdrop of spellbinding landscape at a distance of 1.5 kms from Garamur, the sub-divisional 
headquarters of Majuli. To the visitor, the Majuli festival can be nothing less than a rich a package of cultural conglomerations and eternal natural beauty. Cultural programmes are common during the festival where cultural troupes of Assam and from rest of India heartily participates. 

Food festival is also organised on this occasion and various Assamese products, especially highlighting the traditional glory of Assam. In addition, seminars are also organised on different topics. In addition to the above 
mentioned festivals, Monasa Puja, Chadak Puja, Rash Purnima, Buddha Purnima, 
Muharram and the birth and death anniversaries of Srimanta Sankardeva and other Vaishnavite are also celebrated by the people of Assam.


It is the most important festival of the Ahoms. It is celebrated annually on 31st January at some common venues. It is mainly about worshipping the ancestors. Devotees dressed in traditional fineries take out colourful processing on the occasion. This helps in developing social contacts and community feelings among Ahoms.