AP PHOTOS - India's Assam celebrates the harvest festival

GAMERIMURA (India) -- Saturday marked the beginning of celebrations in Assam, India's northeastern region.

AP PHOTOS - India's Assam celebrates the harvest festival

GAMERIMURA (India) -- Saturday marked the beginning of celebrations in Assam, India's northeastern region. These festivities were meant to welcome a prosperous harvest season and good health.

The celebrations were marked by Gamerimura village residents who gathered to celebrate the Baikho festival, an ancient tradition that is primarily observed by Rabha tribes each year in June. However, people from other communities have also participated in recent years. It is celebrated throughout the state every year.

A series of rituals are performed during the festival to bring goodwill to the community, to expel evil spirits and to spark abundant rains. Locals in traditional costumes join forces to dance to the beats of drums during the afternoon. A tall structure constructed from bamboo bundles is lit and priests pray to the harvest god for a good crop season.

Priests will run over the coals that have been left to simmer by the fire after the prayers are finished. This is an act of respect for the harvest god. Before serving the priests food, women wash their feet.

Rahini Rabha (59), traveled from Dairang village, Assam, to celebrate the festivities. He said that he has been the priest for the festival for 17 years.

The priest stated, "It celebrates tribal Rabha people's agriculture, good health and wealth, as well as education."

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