Raas Festival Assamese community | Assam
Raas is one of the most popular festivals of Assam. It is a religious festival observed by the Hindu community of Assamese society. Raas Festival showcases Bhaona, or traditional dance dramas that depict tales from Hindu mythology. Raas takes place around the full moon night of mid-November, though the exact date changes every year, it is celebrated for three days.
Raas is a part of Neo-Vaishnav culture of Vaishnavite sect of Hinduism which was started by the medieval saint Srimanta Sankardev. He used dance dramas to make the common people understand the glories of Lord Krishna as they were unable to understand the Hindu texts that were written in Vraja language of North India. The glorious past times of the Lord are enacted by the Vaishnav monks of the Sattras (monasteries) established by Sankardev. Monks perform the dances wearing colourful costumes. Some scenes are also performed by the village troupes, children and local musicians. Another interesting aspect of the Bhaona dramas are the use of traditional masks which are made by the monks of Samuguri Sattra of Majuli throughout the year specifically for this event. The classical Sattriya dance can be also seen during the festival. The plays begin in the evening and go on till early dawn.
Many tourists visit Assam during this festival to understand and experience its rich culture. The main centres to enjoy this spectacular festival are the old monasteries in Majuli island, Nalbari and Barpeta. Many pilgrims flock to these places to witness the event. Dance troupes also perform Raas Lila in the cities and towns.