Majuli Cultural Landscape Management Authority
...Promoting and preserving the rich heritage of Majuli

CULTURE - FESTIVALS CELEBRATED IN THE RIVER ISLAND OF MAJULI

KATI BIHU

Kati bihu at Auniati Sattra

People of Majuli observe the Kati Bihu on the Ahin-Kati Sankranti day. It is also called Kangali i.e. poor. The season of October-November is one of scarcity particularly in Majuli. The season of rain has just ended, paddy fields are green but not yet brown, domestic animals are yet very thin having passed the flood season with lack of grazing areas leading to scarcity of milk and milk products and sugarcanes are not yet mature for making gur, and so forth. On the day of Kati Bihu, the basil (tulsi) plant is ceremoniously planted and the offering of light to the plant constitutes the special function of the day. This act of offering light continues throughout the month.
In the Sattras of Brahma Sanghati, special installation of light on tall bamboo and cane structures is made. This installation is known as Akash Bati and prayers are held for previous sattradhikars' well being, of people and world peace. This period is actually the time when the paddy plant is fully grown. Hence it attracts a lot of insects and pests. So the Sattras have developed a mandatory ritual of installing Akash Bati. This practice is then followed in the villages as well. Villagers go to the paddy fields in the evening to light candles (batti) praying for God Almighty's grace for good of the harvest and for destruction and of the insects that may destroy crops. It is a custom for the cultivators in the Majuli Island to go to the fields next day to see the growing crops. At noon that day they go to the namghar and organize a congregational prayer i.e. namkirtan, distribute mag-prasad and offer salutation to the God Almighty for the welfare of all.