Biju is celebrated in the state of Tripura each year on 13th April which is the last day of the Bengali calendar. Celebrations take place on this day as a part of the new year celebrations of the Chakma community. It is being believed that the old year is a bid farewell and the new year ushered in with gaiety. Another name of this festival is Chaitra-Sakranti. Initially, it was originated as a harvest festival to celebrate the bountiful first harvest following the first rains during the agricultural season.
How the celebrations take place?
The Biju festival is celebrated over 3 days. The first day is called Phool Biju and is observed by offering floral tributes to the nearby rivers. The houses are specially cleaned and decorated with flowers. Lamps are lit in Buddhist temples and Chakma households with prayers being offered to the Buddha.
The second day is called Mul Biju and is celebrated with traditional dances and songs. Special delicacies and sweets are prepared. People spend the day paying visits to their friends and extended families. Traditional games are played by all. The day culminates with the special Bizhu dance that ushers out the old year and welcomes in the new year. Dancers are dressed in traditional attire. The dance is accompanied by the rhythms of traditional musical instruments which include percussion and flute, some of which are crafted out of bamboo.
The third day is called Gotche Potche Biju where elders in the community are honored with an elaborate feast with marriage ceremonies to their spouses.
The Biju festival brings together the entire Chakma community. Recently, it has seen an upsurge in popularity among people from other states too who visit Tripura during the Biju festival to enjoy the festivities.