This is an overview of the Cultural Tourism in Northeast India (Mizoram & Assam). As we've seen the Hornbill Festival in our previews post, If you are the lover of Cultural Tourism then, this is the right place! Let's tour the World!
KUT FESTIVALS IN MIZORAM:
There are three kut festivals in Mizorams they are, Mim Kut, Pawl Kut and Chapchar Kut. Mim Kut festival is one of the kut festivals of Mizos, where this festival is celebrated between the month of August and September after the harvest of Maize. This is also called as Maize festival. Mizos used to celebrate this festival with great fanfare along with Rice-beer, Singing, Dancing, and Feasting. Few samples of Harvest is also devoted to the deceased souls of that particular comminity. Pawal Kut is another festival been celebrated as Straw Harvest Festival where Pawal means Straw. This is celebrated after the cultivation is over, between the months of December to January. This festival is also described as the "sort of thanksgiving festival", rice beer is served in this festival. Chapchar Kut is a festival of Mizos where it is celebrated after the completion of Juhoom process. This is spring festivel of Mizos, celebrated with the great Enthusiastic. This is celebrated in the month of March. During this festival Mizos used to perform the Cheraw Dances where the tourist can have loads of fun and can have amazing time with Mizos.
[Jhum or Jhoom cultivation is a local name for slash and burn agriculture practiced by the tribal groups in the Northeastern States of India and also in the districts of Bangladesh like Khagrachari and Sylhet. This system involves clearing a piece of land by setting fire or clear felling and using the area for growing crops of agricultural importance such as upland rice, vegetables or fruits. After a few cycles, the land loses fertility and a new area is chosen.
CHERAW DANCE/BAMBOO DANCE:
This is one of the dances that belongs to Mizos (People of Mizoram). Some of the major dances of Mizoram are Cheraw, Khuallam, Chheih Hla (Chheih lam) and Sawlakia Mizoram. Besides these, various dances like Chai, Rallu Lam, Sarlamkai and Par lam are also performed. These dances are performed on certain festivals, marriages or any other occasions. Cheraw is the most colorful and distinctive dance of the Mizos also this is one of the oldest dance of Mizos. Bamboos are used in this dance hence it is also called as Bamboo dance. While the male dancers move these bamboo staves in rhythmic beats while the female dancers step alternatively in and out from between and across a pair of horizontal bamboos, which are held against the ground by people sitting face to face on either side, in a graceful manner. They tap the bamboos in rhythmic beats. The bamboos, placed horizontally, are supported by two bases, one at each end. The bamboos, when clapped, produce a sound which forms the rhythm of the dance. The patterns and stepping of the dance have many vibrations. Ancient Myth tells that, is Cheraw dance was usually dances to console the soul of the deceased soul of mother who left her newborn child alone on this earth. But, nowadays this dance is being performed for every occasions. This is one of the colorful dance of Mizos where the eyes gets delighted by its beauty.
BIHU FESTIVAL IN ASSAM:
There are three Bihu festivals celebrated by the people of Assam and they are: Bohag Bihu, Kongali Bihu & Bhogali Bihu.
BOHAG BIHU/RONGALI BIHU: Among these three fasinating festivals of Assamese, Bohag Bihu is considered as a important festival which is most colorful and celebrated with joyous. It is a time of fun and feasting continues for about seven days. Bohag Bihu is the spring festival which is celebrated in Mid-April, this festival is also called as Rongali Bihu. This festival is popularly celebrated on the Assamese New Year. The first day of the Bohag Bihu festival is known as, Goru Bihu or Cow Bihu. During this festival, farmers wash, feed and worship their bulls and cows as a sign of respect and gratitude for the service provided by cattle. Following the first day of the Bohag Bihu is known as, Manuh Bihu or Human Bihu. Everyone takes a bath early in the morning and visit their elders to seek blessings from them. The elders are gifted with bihuwan, hachoti and cheleng; according to the Assamese culture, these items are the best way to express your gratitude. Children are pampered on this day and are gifted with new clothes and people also visit their relatives and friends. The Next day is Gosai (Gods) bihu. Statues of Gods were worshiped in all households asking for a smooth new year. Folk songs is also combined with this festival and they are called Bihugeets or Bihu song. The continuous festive procession lasting for seven days is known as Xaat Bihu. All seven days have their specific names those are Chot Bihu, Goru Bihu, Manuh Bihu, Kutum Bihu, Senehi Bihu, Mela Bihu and Chera Bihu. Dances are also performed by the females, It is a folk dance while performing where women use sensuous movements using hips, arms etc. singing songs of thanking god for blessing them fertility. It is also a dance form called ‘Mating ritual’ performed by the young males and females.
KONGALI BIHU: This festival is celebrated in the mid-October. On this occasion, the paddy in the fields are usually in the growing stage and the granaries of the farmers are almost empty. On this day, earthen lamps are lit at the foot of the household tulsi plant, the garden (bari), the granary and the paddy fields. It is believed to protect their maturing paddy, cultivators whirl a piece of bamboo and recite rowa-khowa chants and spells to avoid pests and evil eye. On the evening, cattle are fed specially made rice items called pitha. The Bodo people lighten the lamps at the foot of the siju (Euphorbia neriifolia) tree. This Bihu is also associated with the lighting of akaxi gonga or akaxbonti, lamps at the tip of a tall bamboo pole for to show the souls of the dead the way to heaven, this is a common practice been practiced by many of the communities in India.
BHOGALI BIHU: This is another festival of Bihu celebrated in the month of Mid-January, comes from the word Bhog which means eating and enjoyment. It is the harvesting festival and celebrated at the end of the harvesting season. Their granaries gets filled and there will be lots of feasting and eating during this session. On the eve of the day called uruka (the last day of pausa) menfolk go to the field, preferably near a river there they build a makeshift cottage called Bhelaghar with the hay of the harvest fields and the bonfire or Meji, this is the considered as a most important activity for the night. During the night, they prepare food and there is community feasting everywhere. There is also exchange of sweets and greetings at this time. The entire night was called as Uruka is spent around a Meji with people singing bihu songs, beating Dhol (a typical kind of drums). The next morning they take a bath and burn the main Meji. People gather around the Meji and throw Pithas (rice cakes) and betel nuts to it while burning it at the same time. They offer their prayers to the God of Fire and mark the end of the harvesting year. Sports events like Cock-fight, Nightingale-fight, Egg-fight, Buffalo-fight, etc. can be seen throughout the day.
Beauty of Seven Sister States continues forever. Simply, I can tell you all one little sentence,
Northeast India is “The Paradise Unexplored”