Arunachal Festivals - The Inside Look!
Festivals form an essential aspect of the socio-cultural life of the people of the state. As a matter of fact, festivals are the mirrors of the people's culture. Since agriculture is the mainstay of the population, naturally, the festivals celebrated by the people are closely connected with their occupation. Such festivals are celebrated at a larger sale for thanking the Gods for their providence and for saying a prayer a prayer for a bumper crop.
Throughout the year festivals are celebrated by some or the other tribe. Some of the important festivals are "Solung", "Mopin", "Losar", "Boori Boot", "Dree", "Nechi Dau", "Khan", "Kshyat-Sowai", "Loku", "Longte Yullo", "Mol", "Nyokum", "Ojiale", "Reh", "Sanken", "Si-Donyi" and "Tamladu".
The Norms And Rituals
Animal sacrifices are a common ritual in most of the festivals, particularly in the non-Bodic tribes. The festivals have been firmly blended with the lifestyle of the people of Arunachal Pradesh. For some communities like the Mijis these are occasions to bring all people together that might otherwise be scattered in far-flung villages. This serves as a reminder of the richness of their cultural heritage.
Springtime festivals are celebrated during the period from January to April by the different groups. In the celebration of these festivals, the religious rites and the sacrifices are generally performed by their priests assisted by some select male members.
The Losar festival of the Monpas, which is their New Year, is celebrated for duration of 8 to 15 days. On the eve of the festival people clean out their homes to usher in the New Year and to discard the old. The dirt and the grit of the old year are considered to symbolise ill health.
Appeasement of the deities who control the peace and prosperity of the people is the thought behind the six-day celebrations of the Reh festival, essentially associated with the Idu Mishmis. The festival comes to an end with great fanfare and the priest dance performed during the six days is its special attraction.
Ojiyale The Wanhos celebrate their most popular festival, Ojiyale during March-April, for a period of six to twelve days interspersed with prayer, song and dance. Villagers exchange bamboo tubes of rice beers a mark of greeting and good will. Pig's skin is offered to the village chief as a mark of respect.
Another important festival is Tamladu, essentially celebrated by the Digaru Mishmis tribe. During the festival, prayers are offered to the God of Earth and the God of Water for protection against natural calamities. The supreme - Lord Jebmalu, is worshipped and welfare of human beings, the standing crops and domestic animals.
The Khan festival is an occasion for the reunion of the people. Besides the usual festivities, the significance of the festival lies in the ceremony whereby the priest ties a piece of wool around everybody's neck. The belief is that the enchanted thread will bring good luck to each of them.
Sangken festival is an occasion to bathe the images of Lord Buddha ceremoniously. This also heralds the New Year and people sprinkle water on each other as a sign of merriment. One of the groups celebrates Mopin for wealth, prosperity, good health and universal happiness. Smearing of rice powder on each other's faces marks the beginning of the festival, which is celebrated for five days.
The Mol festival of the Tangsas is also celebrated for three days to welcome the New Year.