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Saturday, December 26, 2020

Festivals of North-East India

Festivals of North-East India


Saga Dawa (Triple Blessed Festival):

  • It is substantially celebrated in the Buddhist communities existing in the state of Sikkim.

  • It is celebrated on the full moon day that descends in the middle of the Tibetan lunar month called the Saga Dawa.

  • This descends between May and June and this month is called Saga Dawa or the 'Month of merits'.

  • The festival is celebrated to memorialize the birth, enlightenment, and death (parinirvana) of Buddha.

  • People also spread the Gompas of the monastery and chant mantras, recite the religious texts and turn the prayer wheels.

Around the month of Saga Dawa, the community of Buddhists has to follow three teachings of Buddhism:
  • Generosity (dana)
  • Morality (sila)
  • Meditation or good feelings (bhavana)
Fig: Saga Dawa

Losoong Festival:

  • It is solemnized all across Sikkim during December every year. 

  • The paramount profession in the State of Sikkim is agriculture and it is the celebration of the harvest season by the farmers and other occupational communities.

  • Traditionally, it is regarded to be the festival of the Bhutia tribe but nowadays even the Lepchas celebrate it with alike stamina and delight.

  • The idiosyncratic point of the festival is that people drink the locally brewed wine, called Chaang, as part of the celebration.

  • They also get together to accomplish traditional dances like the Cham dance, and the Black hat dance at the monasteries.

  • The spirit also reviews the warrior sentiments (opinions) of the Sikkimese community through the archery festivals, etc. 
Fig: Losoong Festival


Bihu Festival:

  • Rangoli or Bohang Bihu (falls on Assamese New Year in April),
  • Kongali or Kati Bihu remarked in October, and 
  • Bhogali or Magh Bihu was remarked in January. 

Rangoli Bihu is the cardinal among the three and it coincides with Assamese New Year. Songs and dances are the main charismata during Bihu.

Bohang Bihu is one of the most admired festivals of Assam. Although the Assamese honor Bihu thrice a year, the Bohnag Bihu is the most predicted one.

The festival of Bihu is traditionally secured to the changing seasons and harvests

The celebrations range from one week to almost a month depending on the communities and tribe's commitment (decision).
  • On the First Day of the festival, cows, and bulls that are the backbone of the community are bathed and fed. The decorum (ceremony) is called the 'Gora Bihu'.

  • The Second Day is the main day of the celebrations that Initiate Bihu, as people greet one another and they exchange Gamosa (a handwoven cotton towel) with their relatives.

  •  All the houses make ready Pitha or a traditional dish made of rice powder, flour, sesame, coconut, and jaggery.

  • They also arrange stages where men and women from all communities come together to perform the Bihu dance. 
Fig: Bihu

Ambubachi Mela:

  • It is confined at the Kamakhya temple of the Guwahati in the State of Assam.

  • The celebration falls in June and is one of the outstanding festivals in North-East India, so much so that it has been categorized as the 'Mahakumbh of the East'.

  • The festival has been kindred with richness rituals and many devotees come to seek the blessing of a child from the Goddess.

  • The temple has chased controversy because of the alleged tantric activities conducted during this mela.

  • During the festival, the patron Goddess Kamakhya is said to be undergoing her annual menstrual cycle. Hence, the temple remains closed for three days.
Fig: Ambubachi Mela

Majuli Festival:

  • This is one of the contemporary festivals held at Majuli in the State of Assam.

  • The festival is arranged in November, as it is the best time considering the rotating climatic conditions in Assam.

  • The Department for Culture of Assam organizes numerous events during the festival like seminars that pinnacle the traditional history and eminence of Assam.

  • The festival is organized on a huge scale in an open area or Namghar. The tribal dishes of Majuli and Assam are exhibited and put on sale.

  • Some famous artists are also invited to showcase their art and public collaborations.

  • The local patron deity is also invoked during the opening and closing etiquettes (ceremony).

  • Various dances and singing competitions are organized for the entertainment of the gala.
Fig: Majuli Festival


Hornbill Festival:

  • It is one of the notable festivals celebrated in Nagaland.

  • It is a 10 days festival that launches on 1st December every year.

  • All the major Naga tribes attend this festival and assemble at the Kisma Heritage Village.

  • All the tribes showcase their talent and cultural vividness through costumes, weapons, bows & arrows, and headgears of the clans.

  • This is also a good community to escort all the tribes together and for the younger generation.
Fig: Hornbill Festival

Moatsu Mong Festival:

  • It is celebrated by the Ao tribe of Nagaland in the first week of May after sowing is done.

  • The festival furnishes them a period of amusement and refreshment after the stressful work of clearing fields, burning jungles, sowing seeds, etc.

  • It is pronounced by songs and dances. A part of the commemoration is Sangpangtu where a big fire is lit and women and men sit around it.
Fig: Moatsu Mong Festival 

Yemshe Festival:

  • It is a harvest festival celebrated predominantly by the Pochuri tribe.

  • Catching of frogs is prohibited during this festival. It is acknowledged in September.
Fig: Yemshe Festival

Lui-Ngai-Ni Festival:

  • Almost all the branches of the Naga tribes celebrate this festival.

  • It is celebrated all over Nagaland and in some of the Naga populated parts of Manipur State too.

  • It has delighted as the mark for the seed-sowing season.

  • The festival escorts the agricultural branches of Naga tribes closer to the non-agricultural based communities of Nagas.

  • The festival is glared by a huge amount of celebration and pomp (rituals) & show.

  • It is a festival to bring communities closer and escalate the message of peace & harmony.
Fig: Lui-Ngai-Ni Festival


Cheiraoba Festival:

  • This festival is celebrated all across the State of Manipur, as it is the New Year according to the Manipuri tribes.

  • It is celebrated in April (it means the first day of the month Sajibu).

  • The festival is also correlated to the domestic deity called Sanamahi worshipped by the Meitei tribe.

  • The festival is usually administered in the temple of Sanamahi but every household cleans, buys new utensils, and new clothes for the family members.
Fig: Cheiraoba Foods

Kang Chingba (Rath Yatra):

  • The festival of Kang Chingba is one of the biggest Hindu festivals celebrated in the State of Manipur.

  • It is similar to the 'Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra' and draws many antecedents from the same.

  • It is a 10 days long festival that is celebrated in July every year.

  • The Yatra begins from the very famous holy temple of Sri Govindjee situated in Imphal.

  • The idols carved of wood and laboriously decorated are carted around in massive chariots that are called 'Kang'

  • These deities are then carried to another temple and people dance through the night to celebrate the journey.
Fig: Kang Chingba (Rath Yatra)


Kharchi Puja:

  • While it began as a festival of the royal family of Tripura, currently even the common household celebrate this festival.

  • It is celebrated for over a week and takes place in July.

  • The festival is celebrated in the honor of Earth and to worship 14 other deities.

  • Each year thousands of people trek to this temple in Agartala so that can pay adoration to the deities.
Fig: Kharchi Puja


Wangala Festival (The 100 Drums Festival):

  • The dominant of Garo Tribe primarily is Meghalaya.

  • The festival indicates the beginning of winter and is celebrated as a nod to the post-harvest season.

  • The festival is celebrated in the honor of 'Saljong', a local deity who is considered to be generous. He is supposed to be the force behind the good things that happen to the community. This festival is a thanksgiving for him.

  • Drums, flutes, and other orchestras instruments are played to create a festive ambiance. 

  • It is also known as the '100 Drums Wangala Festival' as loud drum noises herald the beginning of the festival.

  • The day is also set apart by the wonderful costumes worn by the participants.

  • An extraordinary feature is the feathered head-gear that is worn by everyone celebrating the festival and also reflects their clan's color.
Fig: Wangala Festival


Apatani Tribe:

  • The Apatani tribe that reside in Arunachal Pradesh primarily celebrate the festival.

  • Currently, more and more tribes have started observing the rituals of the Dree festival

  • It is one of the biggest celebrations held in the Ziro valley.

  • During the festival, people offer prayers and offerings to four main Gods: Tamu, Metti, Medvr, Danyi, and Mepin.

  • These offerings are given to pray for a good and plentiful harvest.

  • People gather around the valley and perform traditional dances.

  • One of the most unique points of this festival is that cucumber is distributed to all the attendees as a symbol of a good harvest.
Fig: Apatani Festival 

Losar Festival:

  • It falls on the first day of the lunar calendar and is quite popular in Arunachal Pradesh.

  • It is mainly celebrated by the Monpa tribe who practice agriculture and animal husbandry and follow Buddism.

  • Losar is a three-day festival and is celebrated with great pomp and show at Tawang.
Fig: Losar Festival

Khan Festival:

  • It is a religious festival celebrated by the Miji tribe of Arunachal Pradesh.

  • The festival is significant because it brings together people from every background irrespective of their caste and faith to celebrate it.

  • During this, the priest ties a piece of wool in the neck of all the participants, and the thread is considered sacred.
Fig: Miji Tribes



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