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Assamese traditional conical hat jaapi stages comeback this Bihu
Recently, the harvest festival Bihu was celebrated in Assam with great enthusiasm in which jaapis were sold like hot cakes indicating the revival of the traditional folk culture of the festival.

A jaapi is a traditional conical hat from Assam with mandala design decorations. It is made from tightly woven bamboo, cane and palm leaves. Two kinds of jaapis are available in Assam, first, a plain jaapi that farmers and workers wear for protection from the sun, and second, an ornate jaapi with mandala designs that is worn on special occasions and by the nobility.

An ornate jaapi is made with intricate cloth designs with red, white, green, blue, and black colours along with weaving of bamboo and palm leaves. Important guests are offered ornate jaapis to welcome and honour them. Over the years, jaapi has become part of Assamese traditions and culture.

Also, dance performances are done in which performers either wear an ornate jaapi or wave them along with dance steps. Earlier, during Bihu festivals even wall painting of dancing couple and floor painting with simple mandalas was done to mark the auspicious beginning of Bihu festivities. However, this tradition has almost disappeared. But, ornate jaapis with mandala designs are used as protection against the elements and are displayed at the doors of the houses.

Jaapis become most visible in Assam during Bihu dance performances and various community functions to be offered as a sign of respect. Now, expensive and intricately designed huge jaapis are placed as decorative pieces in the houses.

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