(Last Updated on : 20/12/2008)
Festivals are believed to be the mirror of the cultural aspect of any state. Arunachal Pradesh, the eastern most state of the Indian subcontinent is recognized as a calendar of a long procession of festivals. The festivals of Arunachal Pradesh are not only characterized by color, jollity, fervor, feasts and an assortment of prayers and rituals but also bears testimony to its rich cultural heritage. Agriculture is the main occupation of the state and hence the festivals celebrated by the inhabitants of the state are in a close relation with their occupation. Some of the important festivals celebrated with much exuberance in this state are Solung, Losar, Mopin, Dree, Nechi Dau, Boori Boot, Loku, Longte Yullo, Khan, Kshyatsowai, Ojiale, Moi, Nyokum, Reh, Sanken, Si-Donyi and Tamladu. The most common ritual observed in the festivals of Arunachal Pradesh, particularly among the Non-Bodic tribes is animal sacrifice.
The state festivals are also finely blended with the lifestyle of the people. The specific aim behind the celebration of these festivals is to bring all the people together who might otherwise be scattered in far-flung villages. The festive celebrations are also a reminder of the cultural heritage of the state of Arunachal Pradesh. The celebration of the springtime festivals mainly takes place during the period from January to April by the various communities. In the festive celebrations the religious rites and sacrifices are generally performed by the priests assisted by some selected male members.
The Reh festival is celebrated in Arunachal Pradesh for six days during which appeasement of the deities who control peace and prosperity is through. This festival is essentially associated with the Idu Mishmis and requires a number of sacrificial buffaloes. The arrangements of this festival have to be made four or five years prior to the actual celebrations, as it is quite an elaborate and expensive affair.
The New Years Day in the state of Arunachal Pradesh is celebrated as the Losar Festival for a span of consecutive five days. During this festival the people indulge themselves in cleaning their household to welcome the new and to usher out the old. During these five days prayers are offered for good health and prosperity. People also opt for hoisting religious flags atop their homes during these festive celebrations. Buddhist scriptures are read in almost all homes and butter lamps are lit in almost all houses and the campuses.
The Tamladu festival is one of the ancient festivals of Arunachal Pradesh and is observed in the Lohit district of the state. This festival is celebrated on the 15th of February and essentially forms a part of the festive celebrations of the Digaru Mishis. During this festival prayers are offered to the God of the Earth and the God of the Waters. The tribal dance and the traditional customs make the festivals even more attractive towards the tourists as they get the opportunity to enjoy the old heritage of the state.
The Khan festival of Arunachal Pradesh bears a unique tradition and encourages all the locals to participate in it irrespective of caste and creed. This festival is mainly of the Mijis, one of the tribes of Arunachal Pradesh and is essentially observed as a religious festival where the holy priest ties a holy thread around the neck of the natives. The wonderful blend of cultural heritage is thus reflected in the Khan festival of Arunachal Pradesh as people from different backgrounds come together and participate in the festive celebration.
Saga Dawa Festival
The Saga Dawa festival of Arunachal Pradesh is mainly celebrated by the Buddhist sects of the state. It is believed universally that on this very day Buddha has achieved Enlightenment. The Buddhists carry the holy book of Buddhism and from the Tsuklakhang Monastery the procession goes around the city with the holy teachings of the Lord.
One of the tribal groups of Arunachal Pradesh, the Gallong community celebrates the Mopin festival to please the Goddess of welfare, wealth, peace, prosperity and wisdom. This festival is celebrated for a span of five days in order to get rid of natural calamities, diseases, effects of evil spirits and for good harvest, wealth, health and prosperity. The smearing of rice powder on each others faces commemorates the beginning of this festival.
The Mol festival is another widely popular festival in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. This particular festival is celebrated for three days to welcome the New Year. People from all across the state indulge themselves in pure fun and frolic. Visiting relatives, feasting on sumptuous delicacies commemorates the festive celebration of this particular occasion.
Brahmaputra Darshan Festival
The Brahmaputra Darshan Festival is organized in Arunachal Pradesh every third year at Roing, from the 28th to 31st of the month of January in the English Calendar. This festival aims at projecting the River Brahmaputra as a symbol of unity and communal concordance. This festival begins with a Puja at the site of the river and various events form a part of the celebrations. This festival not only helps in achieving social unity but also serves as a medium to showcase the rich tradition and the cultural heritage of the communities living in this state.
The Sanken festival is another important festival of Arunachal Pradesh. This grand ceremony stands as an auspicious ritual. The image of Lord Buddha is royally bathed with holy water. It is of course not only a religious festival but also lot more as this festival marks the New Year. Joy, merriment and bliss enlace this fiesta as people sprinkle holy water on each other to illustrate happiness.
The Mongpa Festival of Arunachal Pradesh reflects the true tradition of the state as well as that of the Monpa tribe. This tribe follows the lunar calendar and hence this festival is celebrated according to the dates of the lunar calendar. This festival is generally associated with harvest and is celebrated to ask the favor of the Almighty on granting of his blessings for the health of the crop.
The Apatani tribes of Arunachal Pradesh sincerely observe a series of agricultural rites and festivals by sacrificing domestic fowls, animals and eggs in different periods for ensuring the bumper yield of crops. The divinities associated with the Dree festival or Apatani festival are collectively known as Dree or Dri-Wuhi.
is the main festival of Adis. The celebration continues for five days. Solung is celebrated to reap a rich harvest after sowing of seeds and transplantation of paddy plants, to raise more mithuns and pigs and also to be free from natural calamities, fire, accidents, diseases etc.
is a highly solemnized community festival of the Apatani society. It is observed for the general well being of the whole Apatani society. It is celebrated every year during the month of March and lasts for the whole month.
is again the festival of the Apatanis. They observe the festival by sacrificing domestic fowls, animals and eggs in different times, starting from the sowing to the harvesting periods for ensuring prosperity. During Dree festival, a few rites are performed to worship and appease Gods
, who protect the crops, and ensure well-being of men.
is one of the major festivals of Bangnis. It is the only festival which is celebrated annually in every village on a community basis in the Bangini months of Lakhang & Leehar corresponding to the English month of March & April. The festival is celebrated for five days, but occasionally the period may extend to seven days depending on the result of divination done by a local priest by examining the liver of a foul and the yolk of an egg.
is the festival of abundance and richness of wealth and is generally celebrated in the month of January every year. It is celebrated for the well being of the individual family members alone, specially with a hope to be blessed with more wealth and prosperity for that individual family members.
Siron Molo Sochum
is the biggest festival of the Nishi. It is celebrated in the Nishi month every year. Before this festival all houses and granaries are rebuilt and all the crops like dry paddy, millet, maize are harvested and stored in the granaries.
is the most significant festival of the Tagins and is celebrated in January. Si signifies the earth and Doni is the sun. The people believe that, the sun, the moon, the earth and the natural elements around them play a vital part in their day to day functions
is performed by the Hill-Miris on the month of February. The meaning of the word Bori Boot is to get together irrespective of age, sex, caste to hail the spring and successful harvest. The festival invokes the spirit of Bori Boot to bless them with prosperity and free from diseases of any kind.
is the time for celebrating Nyokum or the worship of goddess of crops. This is celebrated on August.
is performed for the welfare of the society. The ceremony is marked by a sacrifice and the priest collects the blood of animals in a bamboo tube and hangs it in front of his house as a mark of distinction.
is the religious festival of the Monpas between the 5th and 6th months of Monpa, Lunar calendar after sowing the seeds.
is the religious festival of Monpas. The Buddhist priests read religious scriptures in the Buddhist temple for a number of days. Thereafter the villagers carry the religious books on their back in a procession under the guidance of senior priest. This festival is performed during the months of April-May.