Indian artists set world record for largest dance at single venue

Folk performance at Sarusajai Stadium in Guwahati

A sea of dancers set the record in Guwahati. Reuters
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More than 11,000 dancers, drummers and singers from India’s north-eastern state of Assam have set a Guinness World Record for the largest dance performance at a single venue.

Wearing traditional clothes, artists — both men and women — danced and sang as they performed bihu at the Sarusajai Stadium in state capital Guwahati on Thursday.

The indigenous folk dance is performed on Rongali Bihu, Assam’s main festival to celebrate spring, on April 13 every year.

Women wear traditional mekhela chador, a two-part sarong, and put flowers in their hair while men wear a tunic, and dhoti, a traditional long loincloth, in red and white or red and cream colour, that denotes fertility.

The women sway briskly while men play flute and drums.

A video shared by state chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who also attended the event, showed rows and rows of dancers, singers and drummers at the huge stadium dancing in perfect sync.

He called the feat a “new awakening for Assamese culture”.

“We are committed to taking the heritage, arts and culture of Assam to the world stage. The whole world will be able to learn about the rich traditions and culture of Assam,” Mr Sarma said.

The participants were picked from across the state and had practised for months for the mega event organised by the state government to promote the cultural heritage of the remote state.

They will be given a grant of 25,000 rupees ($300) for participating in the historic event and certificates from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will be in the state on Friday to celebrate its spring festival.

India is a land of agriculture and almost all the communities celebrate the onset of spring in April.

People in southern Tamil Nadu and northern Punjab are celebrating Chithirai Puthandu and Baisakhi — their version of the spring festivals — on Friday with full pomp and grandeur.

Tamils celebrate the day, also considered the first day of the Tamil year, by making designs on the floor using coloured rice flour and eating special dishes and singing devotional songs. Sikhs across the country visit Gurudwaras — their temples ― and distribute traditional offerings among people, mainly those who are destitute. They also perform gidda, a traditional dance form.

People from coastal Kerala and eastern West Bengal will be celebrating Vishu and Poila Boishakh on Saturday.

Updated: April 14, 2023, 9:40 AM