Mohoho: A Folk Culture in Lower Assam

The Northeast Dialogue

Mohoho is one of the oldest forms of folk dance in Assam. The name "Mohoho" is derived from the Assamese word "moh", which means "mosquito", and the Bodo word "ho", which means "to drive away". The festival is a way to drive away mosquitoes and other pests that are common during this time of year. This popular folk fest is celebrated throughout Lower Assam on the full moon night of the eighth Assamese month Aaghon.

A group of young people comes to every house in their locality. They carry a bamboo stick along with them and they sing a folk song (Mohoho Song) together. One among them dresses like a bear using dry banana leaves and self-made masks. They dance round and round, centering the bear in the front yard and knocking the ground with the bamboo sticks and ‘thorka’ (an instrument made of bamboo) on their hands for driving out mosquitos. The bear represents the victorious power against the mosquitos representing the evil and defeated power.

We see that Mohoho is not only a thing of traditions and beliefs. It also encourages bondage among the rural youths as well as keeping the process of socialization alive.

The "mohoho" performing artist enters a householder courtyard and addresses god in this way –
“Oo hari, oo Ram‟, 'Jay ram bola'  'Joy hari bola‟


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