Bihu 2023 makes it to Guinness World Records: A moment to remember for every Assamese
Date: 13 th April 2023. Time: 5:45 pm.
Bihu 2023: This evening has gone down in history as one of the proudest moments for every Assamese living in every nook and corner of the world; as 11,304 Bihu nasoni or Bihuwati ( female dancer) and dhuliya (male drummer) created the world record for the largest Bihu dance in a single venue. The event has been recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records along with another record for the most number of performers to play traditional Assamese musical instruments in a single venue. 2,548 male performers played the dhol, pepa, gogona, taal and toka.
With this tourism stakeholders are hopeful of including ‘the festival of Assam’- Bihu, in the itineraries of global tourists.
The world record making event: Bihu 2023
The current government, led by chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, attempted the records to establish Bihu on the world stage. And on the eve of the Assamese new year, as every citizen of the state remained glued to their television sets with goosebumps, the records were created at the Sarusajai Stadium in Guwahati. The replica of the Rang ghar has been created in the stadium, as historically Ahom king Swargadeo Rudra Singha started the tradition of celebrating the festival on the ground of this 16th-century amphitheater.
Rishi Nath, Official Adjudicator of Guinness World Records was present to adjudicate the mega event, and called it “the most mesmerising show I have seen to date”.
Selected performers from every district of Assam showcased a graceful performance after thorough rehearsals in their home districts and in the venue for the past three days. The camaraderie among the young performers and their enthusiasm have been lauded by all. Guwahati has recorded unusually high temperatures in the past few days. Yet bearing all obstacles the event has been a great success. With 1400 performers Dibrugarh district recorded the highest participation, and South Salmara the lowest with 20.
Bihu nasoni(s) thanking the government for the opportunity said, “We cannot be more thankful. This has been a wholesome experience to be treasured for life. We had goosebumps when the entire stadium clapped after the performance.”
Bihua (male Bihu performer) Ranjit Gogoi who led and choreographed the performance called the day the most important day of his life, even more important than his birthday.
The Mega Bihu event has potential to boost tourism:
Tour operators of Assam acknowledging the state government’s step in taking out Bihu outside the state stated the Mega Bihu event to be a good marketing strategy. The state tourism industry has often been critical of the failure of Assam to promote Bihu as a tourist event and set it on the itineraries of especially international travellers.
Arijit Purkayastha, Chapter Chairperson of North East, Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India, citing the success of the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland told Borderlens, “As the dates for Bohag Bihu celebrations are fixed, it is quite convenient to be included in the itinerary, and unlike Hornbill where extensive preparations are required, Bihu is already celebrated in bihutoli(s) across the state during these days. However, we have failed to promote it- both the celebrations and the rich customs associated with Bihu. This event will hopefully attract the attention of the world.”
Udit Bhanu Barthakur, Director of Eastern Iconic Tours and Travels said, “Bihu is known as ‘the festival’ of Assam. It has been a matter of shame that we have not been able to showcase Bihu to our tourists from across the globe. We should have been able to package the events of at least the first two days of Bohag Bihu- the Goru Bihu and Manuh Bihu. Since the actual Bihu celebrations fall towards the end of the tourist season and footfalls are very low, initiatives must be taken to stage these rituals and the performances during the season.”
Lauding the Assam government’s efforts yet upset that the tourism sector was not involved in the event, Barthakur added, “The government can do the needful to stage the customs and performances associated with not just Bohag Bihu but Magh and Kati Bihu, during the tourist season. It can be done in fixed setups in Srimanta Shankardev Kalashetra, or the Brahmaputra Heritage Centre or even at some place in Kaziranga. Foreign tourists are especially interested in traditions and customs.”
The stakeholders hoped that such mega performances, if not on such a grand scale, should be held annually to attract the interests of outsiders.
An elated CM signs Bihu and announces gifts for performers:
Following the record-winning performances, chief minister Sarma along with his cabinet colleague and minister of cultural affairs Bimal Bora were seen singing popular Bihu naam (songs) on stage. The 15 minutes long Bihu performed on carefully chosen forgotten old Bihu naam (songs) was a sight to behold. A day earlier Sarma had announced a gift of Rs. 25000 for each of the performers in addition to the remuneration of Rs. 10,000 offered previously.
CM receives the GI Registration Certification for Assamese Gamosa:
Recently, the Assamese Gamosa was awarded the Geographical Indication (GI) tag. Prior to the Guinness World Record attempt, the Assam CM received the GI Registration Certificate for Asomiya Gamosa from Controller General of Patent, Designs and Trademarks and Registrar of GI Registry Dr. Unnat P. Pandit.
Eight variants of the Gamosa namely Uka or Xadharan Gamosa, Phulam Gamosa, Bihuwan, Tiani or Pani Gamosa, Anakata Gamosa, Telos Gamosa, Dora Boron or Jor Gamosa, and Gossain Gamosa have been included in the GI Registration.
Speaking on the occasion, Sarma said, “It is a moment of honour and pride for the people of Assam just before the Rongali Bihu celebrations as I received the GI Tag for our pride, the Asomiya Gamosa. As a result of this honour, our pride Asomiya Gamosawill receive legal recognition for Assam which will protect its quality and distinctiveness. It will ensure the protection of the interests of our weavers”.
The Chief Minister on the occasion congratulated the people of Assam on earning the honour. He said that this GI Tag would be yet another step for taking Assam and placing it on the world stage.
Social Media overflows with joyous posts:
Social media handles from Assam across platforms were seen overflowing with videos, reels and photo posts of the rehearsals for today’s grand occasion from the past few weeks… and the event was celebrated in an even grander manner today.
Emotions of Assamese people overflowed as posts were shared and re-shared appreciating the much-needed intervention of the government to give Bihu the desired stage. People have mentioned it as an unparalleled experience to be treasured for life. The mass enthusiasm was stamped by the packed galleries of the Sarusajai Stadium to witness the Guinness World Record.
The performances will be repeated on the 14th of April in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the same venue and will be published for the world to witness.