The natural panorama of Assam is like a necklace. Also known as the Land of Rising Sun, Assam is known for its unique nature and variety of dances. The ancient inhabitants who have contributed greatly to the Assamese culture are the Boros of Bodos. They are the ethnic groups of people living in Assam with their rich culture and observe many festivals and ceremonies. One of their important dances is the Bagurumba Dance. It is a vital part of the culture of the Bodo tribe. It is usually performed during Bwisagu, a festival of the Bodos in the Bishuba Sankranti or in mid-April. The cow is worshipped and then the young people bow down to their parents and elders to take their blessings. Later, the deity Bathou is worshipped and offered chicken and zou, that is, rice beer. Let us further discuss the Bagurumba dance.

How did it originate?

The Sizu Plant (Euphorbia Splendid) is regarded as a symbol of their deity or God ‘Bathou’. Bagurumba is instituted to serve their supreme God. It had been originated by the tribal people known as the Bodos. It is generally considered as a light dance and gives simple description of the world of nature. The dance began as an attractive dance form and included movements of butterflies and birds. Recently, it has two variations– the Natural Bagurumba performed without any song and the Royal Bagurumba which is accompanied by songs. 

Where is Bagurumba performed?

Bagurumba is a tribal dance instituted just after the hard plantation work of the people. It acts as a way to relieve them of their pain at such work. Hence, it is common in the inhabited areas of Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Nalbari, Darrang, and Sonitpur districts in Bodo. This dance is sometimes, also called as the Bardwisikhla dance.

How is it performed?

Bagurumba is the most graceful dance of the Bodos where the dancers hop and swing, bend and unbend and give an impression of fluttering butterflies. It is a female–oriented dance formation performed with slow steps and outstretched hands. It involves energetic and exquisite steps and movements like those of butterflies and birds and is hence, sometimes rightly called ‘the Butterfly Dance’.

Which costumes and musical instruments are used to perform it?

Bagurumba is a tribal dance performed by women and females. They dress themselves in the most colourful costumes consisting of colourful Jwmgra, dokhna and aronai. Musical instruments such as sifung, flute and kham or mandal which is a long drum made from goat skin and wood are mostly used. Other instruments may include Serja and a piece of split bamboo known as tharkha. The dance procession is ended by a festive prayer at Garjasali.

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