Assam: Celebrating Baikho with the Rabha tribespeople
Observed during the pre-monsoon month annually, Baikho Puja or the springtime festival is the prime pre-harvest festival for the indigenous Rabha people in the north-eastern state of Assam. The festivities observed by this traditionally animistic community, that now practices a faith blended with Hindu customs, focus on the worship of Baikho, an agricultural deity, and centre on the community’s well-being and a good harvest. Other highlights include the traditional Rabha dance competition and lewa tana or tug of war contest. The community’s priests running over burning charcoal is another important ritual during Baikho.