3 Well known traditional belief and rituals of Assamese society
It’s very good and happy to see that even in this modernization period people have not forgotten their traditional rituals and customs. People not only in remote areas but also in the cities practice this rituals and customs so that the children of future generation may continue these rituals. This might not be true according to science but we think that by following this we are paying great respects to our elders who have introduces this.
Wedding of frogs to appease rain Gods
“According to Hindu Mythological belief when there was no rainfall it is believed that wedding of frogs can only appease rain gods and can bring rainfall. Number of villagers was gathered together and follows the traditional customs thoroughly. Villagers brings two wild frogs from forest and then as like in every marriage, frogs are also married off following wedding rituals like human beings, villagers came together and witnessed the marriage of frogs. It is a believed that if we do like this, it can bring rainfall. It is believed that frog marriages please the Barun Devata. With thousands of farmers awaiting rain in drought like situation, farmers in the state are now trying to please rain God in a desperate attempt. With dust storm, dry wave, water crisis, farmers in Assam are reeling under the wrath of drought. Paddy fields in most parts of the state have been affected with no rain in the past. Long term drought like situation could affect tea cultivation in the state too. This is the reason why people still believe and follow this tradition.
“This particular festival is specially done by the farmers in villages. This is a kind of prayer to bring rain when the farmers suffer from drought. This has been done from ages and people still follow it.”
“This festival is very helpful and people got its results too. After practicing this rain falls.”
Tuloni Biya – Coming of age!
“In Assam a ritual called Tuloni Biya or the Small Wedding of a girl is still performed by the Assamese people. Tuloni biya is the matter of joy and celebration for the Assamese people. It is celebrated with great pomp and joy like a real wedding. Tuloni Biya is a ritualistic symbolic wedding that is performed a few days after the girl has her first menstruation and signifies the attainment of womanhood and her coming of age. It is a ritual supposedly typical and unique to the Hindu Tai Ahoms and many other Assamese groups which has various theories about its significance and origins. While the mock marriage might be the symbolic gesture of marrying away a daughter when she attains adulthood, as in olden days it was imperative to marry off your young marriageable daughter as soon as she attained puberty, there are others who say that it is a celebration by the family and the community at the girl attaining adulthood and potential to bear a child. Whatever is the significance or origin, the ritual is quite elaborate and tedious for a little girl of twelve to fourteen years old- someone who until a few days back was playing with dolls. Now though many changes and modifications have been made to the existing rituals as per one’s convenience and choice, previously it used to be somewhat private affair with emphasis more on the rites rather than the pomp. When the young girl first discovers that she has had her first menses she’d normally tell one of her friends or her mother. From there, word would spread to close family and provisions would be made to bring her home “under cover” with a sador or veil on her head so no one can see her. Once she is home, a bed is made with hay and covered with a sheet. A dia or earthen lamp is lit on the floor right above where the girl is to put her head, and a bunch of bananas is placed there too. The girl isn’t allowed to eat anything then and is confined to that bed in that room. No men are allowed in that room, and she isn’t supposed to be even touched by anyone. Meanwhile a family member would rush to the nearest astrologer, and ask him to chart her stars to find out how many days of confinement the girl is to go through. It can be as short as four days and as long as twenty one days, depending on the stars! Since confining a girl for 21 days is not practical, on the 4th day, the girl is bathed with proper wedding rituals, using maah-halodhi (turmeric). A banana tree is planted at the site where the girl is to be bathed. Not a single man must be in sight. The woman who bathes the girl must herself wash all the clothes and the sheets and rearrange the bed, and must not have food for the whole day until she bathes and is considered “clean” again. On the day the astrologer deems suitable for the “wedding”, a group of women from a different part of the village pretends to be from the “groom’s” side and travel to the girl’s house singing biya naams (wedding songs) all the way like an actual wedding. The “bride’s” mother welcomes the group and rituals like an actual wedding then take place. And many people come to attend the wedding with presents.”
“Tuloni biya is very old tradition in Assamese culture. By organizing tuloni biya we aware the girls that they have grown up and they should follow some rules and regulation when they will face their monthly mansuration.”
And old women of the village celebrate this in order to give blessings to the newly wedded girls. They sing song, dance and enjoy to the fullest. It’s like a real marriage but the difference is that in this type of marriage the girl is given marriage to banana tree instead of a boy.”
Before, this traditional belief was practiced because of some reasons but now people only show of. It has become a competition for them to celebrate this particular function. But yes every Assamese people celebrate this in their house.”
Collection of 101 plant species (hak) in Bohag Bihu
“In the month of the middle of April (Bohag Bihu), in this particular day, Assamese people collect 101 plant species which are locally known as Akhon ata hak and prepare recipe in the evening. It is believed that this special recipe has some medicine values, which is good for health for the next year too. This is the reason why people get together and use to follow it with great joy and delight in every Bohag Bihu.”