My Culture : Bodo

Let me tell you a little something about my culture… 

I am from a Northeast Indian tribe called the "Bodo". We are one of the oldest indigenous people of the largest Northeast Indian state called Assam. Our tribe branched from Indo-Mongoloid family, descending from ancient Tibet, and hence, we look very Mongolian in appearance. We still like to follow the old tradition and culture without fail ;) 

Not only are our looks, language, cuisine and culture different but also our dresses and ornaments are certainly VERY different from the rest of the state, or the whole country for that matter* (although each state of India has their own language and cultural uniqueness but that's a different topic). Our language is called Bodo, we LOVE pork :) and majority of bodo people live mostly in Assam, although a lot of us have segregated in past 100s of years… To talk more about the culture, I will focus mostly on our clothes…

Our dresses and ornaments symbolize our traditional art and culture. The arts of making these dresses and ornaments are the intrinsic reflections of the nature within which they are shaped and moulded. Since ancient time, we were accustomed to producing handicrafts and handlooms. Our clothes were made from the thread of "Eri" and "Muga", two types of silk worms found in Northeast India. The Eri cloth is of dub colour and is durable. It is light but relatively warm.  Whereas, Muga silk is naturally golden beige in colour. Bodo women are expert in rearing the Eri worms called "Andi" and Muga worms. They are home grown. And the larvae also make delicious cuisine (trust me, it tastes better than it sounds).

Bodo woman weaving a bodo cloth piece
Traditionally, women weaved different kind of clothes for both men and women. Now-a-days there are machines used in the clothe factories. The men wear attires similar to the traditional assamese culture, with "kurtas" and "gamosa" (wrap-around clothe for covering the lower part of the body, and sometimes used as towels too). The difference comes with the attires of the women.

The dresses of the Bodo women is what makes our culture distinguishable from others (other similar looking Northeast Indian tribes and cultures). The whole attire incorporates a wrap-around dress, a blouse and a scarf, that are mostly made from the threads of the silk worms, but these days you can get them made from cotton too. The women wear what's called "Dokhna," these are made of a bright and colourful woven fabric that is 3 meter long and about 1.5 meter wide so as to cover the whole body, wrapped around the body and tied around the waist in a certain way as to give it a unique design.

Lovely bodo girls in colourful dokhnas
As you can see, the colours are bright, and they all have floral prints interwoven within the fabric. These are the specialities of our traditional attire. I personally love the colours and the prints :) Yellow is a very auspicious colour in Bodo culture and most of the Dokhnas are made in or incorporate yellow.

It is a very decent dress, even without the blouse and the scarf… And personally, I think it looks like a sexy evening maxi dress when worn without the blouse.

There are MANY variations of Dokhnas. Dokhna without "Agor" (floral prints) is called "Salamatha" or "Matha". Pure Dokhona called "Dokhona Thaosi" is generally meant for use of bride, woman receptionist in Bodo wedding, and "Doudini" (dancing women during the festivals) or other such ceremonies.

Bodo women dancing the traditional bodo dance - "Bagarumba"
Bodos are simple minded people, with simple living standards… But bat-shit crazy when it comes to their home-brewed rice wine called "Maibra zou"... lol! They naturally have a very strong body constitution, and are stout and strong built. Men especially make excellent football players. They are also known for their temper… Not always a nice thing, but not an uncommon trait in the himalayan region of the country :/…

Coming to the ornaments part, it is mostly similar to the rest of the country except for the special earing only traditional to Bodos called "Phul kori."

Well, for now, that's that… There is much to write about but I will come back to that in due time… I hope you've enjoyed and learned something about a new culture :) 

Till next time,

(Means "Be merry!" in bodo)

*To give you more insight on the Northeast Indian culture, I would post more about them in due time so stay tuned.