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Assam boasts of a hybrid culture which has developed because of different ethno-cultural groups. Know more about arts & crafts of Assam, India.

Assam Culture

Assam, a northeastern state of India, features a hybrid culture that has evolved with times. Its culture is a mixing pot where rituals, customs, heritage, lifestyle, faith & beliefs of various people are assimilated. Be it dance, cuisine, language, arts & crafts, or fairs & festivals, Assam has identified itself with a distinctive cultural heritage. One of the important cultural symbols of the Assamese is Gamocha. It is an integral part of every socio-religious ceremony. The Gamocha is a white rectangular piece of cotton hand woven cloth with mainly a red border on three sides and red woven motifs on the fourth side. It is used by each person in Assam, irrespective of his/her religious or ethnic background. To know other facets of Assamese culture, read on.

The people of Assam are known to be very friendly, charming and open-hearted. The state's population is the result of different ethno-cultural groups that migrated to the land under various politico-economic systems in earlier times. Assam has got a large population of tribals; some of the tribal groups are the Boro-Kacharis, the Deori, the Misings, the Dimassas, the Karbis, the Lalungs, the Rabhas, etc. People usually reside in hilly areas and plain areas. However, the hilly areas are dominated by more or less by the tribal populace.

Vaishnavism, which is sect of Hinduism, is the major religion that is practiced by the majority of Assamese. Besides, the other regions that are ardently followed by people are Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, etc. Some people follow religious practices of the Satras and the Naamghar. Most of the tribals worship their own Gods and follow their distinctive customs & rituals.

Since Assam is inhabited by people of diverse regions, many languages are spoken and understood here. However, Assamese or Akhomiya is the main language of the state. English is used for administrative purposes though people in cities can speak and understand this language. Bengali is also used for communication by some Hindus and Muslims. The different tribes have their own languages that are commonly used in their own communities.

Fairs & Festivals
Bihu, which is celebrated in three parts during a year, is the state festival of Assam that is observed with great pomp and show by all the Assamese. The Hindus, residing in Assam, celebrate major festivals such as Diwali, Holi, Durga Puja, Swaraswati Puja, Lakshmi Puja, Kalipuja, and Shivaratri with great revelry. Similarly, the Muslims celebrate Id while the Christians commemorate Christmas. Me-dam-me-phi, Ali-aye-ligang, Kherai, Garja, Hapsa, Hatarnai, Awnkham Gwrlwi Janai, Chojun/Swarak, Rongker, Sokk-erroi, Hacha-kekan and Porag are some other festivals celebrated by different ethnic groups in Assam.

Art & Craft
The Assamese are brilliant at arts and crafts. They are known for their exquisite skills of weaving silks. Moreover, unique products of bamboo and cane are also made here. The craftsmanship of this state appears in its colorful Japi (headgear), terracotta of Gauripur and various decorative items. The graceful Eri, Muga (Assamese silk dresses) and other tribal attires, which are produced here, are really amazing.

Dance forms an intrinsic part of Assam Culture; it is associated with merriment. Bihu is the most popular folk dance of Assam that is performed by young boys and girls, especially during the Bihu festivities. Usually most of the dances are accompanied by musical instruments like dhol (dholak), penpa, gagana, banhi (flute) etc. Satriya Nritya is the classic dance form that signifies the Satriya culture of Assam. Jhumur Dance is a synthesized form of dance performed by the tea folks. Bagurumba and Deodhani are other impressive dance forms of Assam.

Though influenced by cuisines of the neighboring regions, the cuisine of Assam has its own luscious taste and flavor. Exotic herbs and vegetables are used to impart a great taste to the dishes. Rice forms a staple diet of the majority of Assamese. Fish curries and pork dishes are the most common and most preferred non-veg food. A typical Assam full course meal starts with Khar and ends with Tenga. At the end of a meal, Paan or betel nut is chewed by people. Pitikas are side dishes, which are prepared from steamed or roasted vegetables.