What is Kati Bihu?

Kati Bihu is being observed in Assam on October 18, 2022.

Key facts

  • Kati Bihu is one of the three Bihu celebrated in Assam, with the other two being Bhogali or Magh Bihu (celebrated on January 13 or 14) and Rongali or Bohag Bihu (celebrated on April 14 or 15).
  • All three Bihu are agriculture-related festivals.
  • Kati Bihu is observed in the northeastern state of Assam to mark the beginning of the harvest season.
  • It is celebrated on the first day of the Kati month in the Assamese calendar, which usually falls during mid-October.
  • The word “Kati” means “cut”, which signifies the time when the relocation of rice saplings takes place.
  • Kati Bihu is also known as Kongali (poor) Bihu as granaries are usually empty and there isn’t much to eat during this time of the year.
  • Hence, the celebrations of Kati Bihu are somber in nature, unlike other Bihus.
  • During the Kati Bihu, lamps or saaki (candles) are lit outside homes as well as in paddy fields in the evenings to pray for better cropping returns in the next season.
  • The main lamp is lit in the courtyard close to the sacred Tulsi plant.
  • On this occasion, people plant Tulsi and worship Goddess Lakshmi.
  • The Tulsi is cleaned and placed on an earthen platform called the “Tulsi Bheti”.
  • Offerings and prayers are made to Tulsi for the family’s well-being and to get better harvest.
  • This religious ritual takes place throughout the month of Kati.
  • At the paddy fields, farmers light up a special kind of lamp called Akaxh Banti (sky candle).
  • These mustard oil lamps are placed at the tip of tall bamboo poles. They are believed to act as a guide for ancestors to heaven. They attract insects and kill them so that the crops are healthy and not affected by pests.

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