(Last Updated on : 18/10/2019)
Nyokum is a traditional festival in Arunachal Pradesh
. This festival is celebrated among the Nyishi tribe
of the state. The word "Nyokum" has been derived from the combination of two words - "Nyok" means "land or earth" and "Kum" means collectiveness or togetherness. Therefore, the Nyokum festival may very well be interpreted as inviting all the Gods and Goddesses of the Universe, with the Nyokum Goddess as the principal deity of Arunachal Pradesh, to a particular venue at a particular time.
Importance of Nyokum
Nyokum festival has a close link with cultivation. The Nyokum goddess is worshipped for more production of food-grains in the next harvesting season. The Goddess is invoked so that the human race may be strengthened and regenerated. All should be free from unnatural death due to accident, war and epidemic.
Ui or Oram Nyoko in Nyokum
Ui or Oram Nyoko is the place meant for the life after death. It is also believed that there are numerous deities and spirits on earth. These are the deities and spirits of mountains, rivers
, crops, house-holds etc. Some of the spirits are benevolent and others are malevolent. The Nyishi tribe believe that humans can live a life of peace and prosperity on this earth only when a perfect harmony is maintained between man, God and nature. They also believe that prosperity and happiness can come to a man when God and nature are pleased. Misery, hardship and natural calamities like famine, flood
, drought, earthquake, epidemic, warfare, accidental death and such unwanted incidents occur due to the displeasure and wrath of the God and Goddess of nature. It is, therefore, the Nyishi worship to propitiate the benevolent Gods
to protect and bring prosperity to them and to ward off the malevolent spirits from disturbing the peace and tranquility in their life, Nyokum Yullow is one of such propitiation.
Rituals in Nyokum Festival
The main prayer structure of Nyokum of the Nyishi is made of bamboo, called the yugang. Alongside the yugang, sacrificial animals are tethered, like cows, mithuns, and goats. Often one finds small chickens hung from bamboo poles of the yugang. The nyubh or the traditional priest specifies the number and kinds of animals for sacrifice, or any other offering to be made. There are no idols in this worship. Neither is there any permanent structure.
Costumes of Nyokum
People turn up wearing their traditional clothes during this time. The men dress in a cotton eri robe draped from the shoulder and reaching the thighs. From their neck hangs a variety of bead jewellery necklaces. Often semi precious stones like turquoise adorn these necklaces. Men wear bamboo woven cap on the head as well. This cap is decorated with furs of wild animals. The beak of the hornbill is a favourite ornament for the traditional cap. The women also dress in their finery earrings bead necklaces, topped with a headdress made of finely scaped bamboo
Folk Culture in Nyokum
There is singing and dancing period before the head priest
or nyubh coming with his attendants to perform the main ritual. The guests are welcomed with rice
paste powder and opo, a kind of drink. The song and dance is performed in a group.