(Last Updated on : 28/12/2015)
Village life in northeast India is most famous for the rich tribal culture and traditions. The villages located in the northeast region of India comprise several tribal communities who have their own tradition, customs and cultural activities. Villages in the 'Seven Sister' states like Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram, etc. are counted amongst the villages of northeast India. Nestled at the foothills of Himalyas the villages of Northeast India are picturesque. Natural beauty, hospitable inhabitants, pleasant climate and tribal culture are some of the primary features of the village life in Northeast India.
Food has always been a major part of village life in northeast India. The cuisine of Indian northeastern villages is quite different from that of other parts in India and there is a similarity in food culture of all the seven states. Fish is one of the most popular food items in the villages of northeast India and rice is the staple food in this region. The most popular food items in the villages of northeast India include Panch Phoron Tarkaari, Misa Mach Poora (Grilled shrimps), Poora Mach, Assam Laksa Stock, Dal and Eggs, Koat Pitha (Banana pitha), Bamboo Shoot Fry, Poora Haah (Roasted duck), Fish Fried Rice, Thukpa /Gya-Thuk (Noodle soup), etc.
The costumes worn by people in the villages of northeast India are one of the most attractive and distinctive ones among all the villages of India. Most of the attractive costumes are part of the rich tribal culture. The traditional dress of women in the northeast Indian villages is basically a length of cloth that is worn around the waist in much the same way as a lungi or a towel-wrap and turn and worn with a top or shirt. This is known by different names in different states. In Sikkim, the women of the tribal community of Lepchas wear a two piece dress. The women of another tribal community, Bhutias wear a silken 'Honju' that is a full sleeve blouse and a loose gown type garment. The tribal women are also very fond of heavy jewelry made of pure gold. The traditional dress of Assamese women is called Mekhala Chaddar. It is actually a saree in two parts or a half saree like the ones in South India. The Mekhala Chaddars are mostly woven in Muga and Pat Silk. The men in villages of Assam usually wear dhotis made of silk and they also wear a chalang, a scarf. Another traditional shirt called the 'sula' is also worn by Assamese men.
The women in the villages of Manipur wear a skirt named 'Phanek'. Though most of the Phaneks are made of cotton, the Manipuri women also wear silk Phaneks in special occasions. On the other hand, the skirt worn by the Mizo women is called Puan. It is also known as Dakmanda in Meghalaya. The women in the villages of Meghalaya also wear another dress named Jyensyem that consists of two ankle length pieces of cloth gathered at the shoulders. The upper part of the body is clad in a blouse. The males in the northeast Indian villages mostly wear the traditional dhoti and panjabi. The dhoti is worn around the lower part of the body and the panjabi is worn to cover the upper part.
The educational aspect of village life in northeast India is quite impressive. The villagers get educated in both their traditional education and they learn the modern education as well. There are several government primary schools that have been established in the villages of northeast India to provide primary education. Apart from these, there are also many private organisations that work for providing basic education to the villagers in northeast India.
Agriculture is the principal occupation for most of the villagers in northeast India and hence, is the most important aspect of village life in northeast India. The villagers are expert in cultivating a variety of agricultural and horticultural crops. They cultivate the crops round the year. The villages in different states are famous for producing different types of crops. The major crops cultivated in the villages of Meghalaya include rice, maize; the fruits like orange, lemon, pineapple, guava, litchi, banana, jack fruit and the temperate fruits like plum, pear, peach, etc. a few crash crops are also cultivated in the villages of Meghalaya that include potato, ginger, turmeric, black pepper, areca nut, tezpatta, betel vine, short-staple cotton, jute, mesta, mustard and rapseed, etc. On the other hand, the villages of Sikkim are famous for producing the traditional crops like maize, millet, paddy, buckwheat, barley, mustard, potato, ginger, mandarin orange, large cardamom, The horticultural crops like large cardamom, ginger, turmeric, oranges, apple, pear, off-season vegetables, the flowers like gladiolus, orchids, lilies, gerbera, carnation, anthurium, etc. are also grown in the villages of Sikkim.
Fairs and festivals are one of the major parts of village life in northeast India. The villagers celebrate a variety of fairs and festivals throughout the year and the festivals are full of colour and lights. The people also perform various forms of folk music and dance during the festivals. The most popular tribal fairs and festivals celebrated in the villages of northeast India include Chapchar Kut, Mim Kut, Ningol Chakouba, Heikru Hitongba, etc.
Village life in northeast India is one of the most unique and different village lives among all the states in India. The rich tribal culture and customs in the northeast Indian villages are rich all over the country. The simplicity of the villagers is probably the most interesting feature of village in northeast India. The people live in unison and enjoy all kinds of festivals together.