Losar Festival (Monpa Festival)The losar festival of the Monpas, which is their new year, according to Monpa calendar, is celebrated for five days. The festival falls in January / February. On the eve of the festival people clean out their homes to usher in the new year and discard the old. The dirt and grit of the old year is considered to symbolize ill health. During the five days of festivities prayers are offered for prosperity and good health, the festivities include the hoisting of religious flags atop their homes; visits to the homes of friends and relatives; holy Buddhist scriptures are read in every home and butter lamps are lit in houses and the campuses.
Torgya Festival Torgya is a monastic festival held every year for three days at Tawang monastery starting from 28th day of the eleventh month of the lunar calendar, which generally falls in the last part of January. In order to drive off evil forces and to ward off any natural calamity so that people have a happy and prosperous life. A propitiation (Torgya) rite of Yamactaka Chak Khar Zur Gurpa is conducted and with this connotation the festival is called "Torgya". Thousands of people throng the monastery during these three days in their colorful, best dresses, making the festival a carnival of colours.
Saka Dewa Celebrated in 4th month of the lunar calendar, the Saka Dawa festival marks Gautam Buddha’s achievement of Nirvana.
Dukpa Tse-Shi The DukpaTse-Shi Festival celebrates the preaching of the Four Nobel Truths at Sarnath by Buddha. It falls in the 6th month of the Lunar calendar.
Lhabab Duechen In the 9th month of Monpa, the Lhabab Duechen Festival signifies the reincarnation of Buddha as Shakyamuni.
Nyukom Festival of the Nyishis is celebrated on 26th February every year to propitiate the Gods for a good harvest.
Mopin (Adi Festival ) Mopin is another popular festival of the Adis, mainly of the Gallong community of the Arunachal Pradesh. This is normally celebrated in order to get rid of natural calamities diseases, effects of evil spirits and for good harvest, health, wealth and prosperity. In this festival Mopin, the Goddess of welfare, peace, wealth, prosperity and wisdom is propitiated in grand celebration. The festival lasts for five days from the eighth of April before, sowing of paddy. The popir dance is the most popular dance during the festival.
Myokoh – (Apatani Festival) It is the most highly solemnized community festival of the Apatani society. It is purely a religious ceremony which is observed for the general well being of the whole Apatani society and is participated by each and every Apatani with great enthusiasm, devotion and respect. It is celebrated every year during the month of March and lasts for the whole month. For full participation, the whole Apatani villages of the plateau have been divided into three major groups-the first group consist of villages like Hija Duta, Mudangtage, Bamin and Michi. The second group consist of Hong village alone and the third group consists of Hari, Kalong , Tajang and Regu. The actual solemnization ceremony is conducted alternatively among the three major groups and then the other groups take full participation with the villages who actually perform the ceremonies.
Solung – (Adi festival )The 'Solung' is the main festival of 'Adis' and is a manifestation of the Adis festival cult. There are various stories about its origin, but the most commonly accepted one is that the Adis were asked by Kine-nane, the Goddesses of wealth and prosperity to perform the Solung Puja. The story goes like this. One 'Doying-Bote' (god of heaven) came in contact with Kine-nane and become sexually excited. When he was about to copulate with her two monsters Totel-Mone and Dubeng-Mone, intervened and snatched off his testicles to destroy it and in the process scattered the divine sperms over different places from some of which sprouted paddy plants. This was found by Kine-nane. Finding human beings starving for want of food, she sent the paddy seeds through a dog. Since then men have been producing paddy in plenty to meet their requirement of feed. Kine-nane asked the men so helped by her to offer Puja in the name of Solung which they were only too willing to do. Kine-name also helped them to acquire Mithun, and pig, the two animals which are sacrificed at the time of Solung.
In the Solung they try to propitiate both Doying-Bote and Kine-nane and if they are pleased and satisfied the former will appear in the form of clouds and rains and latter will appear in the form of great fertility of soil. They land together on the surface of the earth where ultimately their union take place. It is believed that their successful union will lead to high yields of crops, more animals like mithun, pigs etc and ultimately wealth and prosperity for men.
Solung celebration continues for five days, first day is called, 'Solung-Gidi Dogin' or the day of preparations, second and the main day of the celebration is called Doreph-Long (the day of animal sacrifice), third day is 'Binnayat Binam' or worshipping the goddess of plenty and prosperity. Fourth day is Yaktor of Ekoph when the villagers remains busy preparing bows and arrows and other weapons of war. On the fifth day the Miri (religious leader or priest) is given a ceremonial send off when the girl's sing and dance. During Solung festival, every evening the Miri sings 'Solung Abung' and through the song he relates the stories about the origin of man, animals and plants, ancestry of the Adis, lives and deeds of the Adi Heroes. Solung is celebrated in the month of August or September but there is no fixed date for it. Now-a-days in some places, the festival is celebrated with a three day programme. 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
Dree - Apatani Festival The Apatanis observe a series of agriculture rites and festival by sacrificing domestic fowls, animals and eggs in different times, starting from the sowing to the harvesting periods for ensuring of bumper yield of crops in the year such as Dree, Tamu, Metri, Chandii and Yahung etc. Chandii Tamu rite is performed during the sowing period, Dree during every growing periods of crops and Yahung just before the harvest. The literary meaning of 'Dree' is one who borrows or purchases food grains from others in order to meet out the shortage by addition to one's old and new stock of food grains.
During Dree festival, a few rites are performed to worship and appease Gods and Goddesses, who protect the crops, and ensure well-being of man. These divinities include Tamu God, Metii God, Sky God and Danyi Pilo (sun and moon). They are worshipped by offering sacrifices of fowls, dogs, pigs, chickens, eggs, mithuns and cows. The divinities associated with Dree are collectively knows as 'Dree or Dri Wuhi' (Gods).
For conduction of ritual of Dree, one or two persons are appointed permanently or temporarily from each clan of the village. These persons are known as Dree Kholi or Dree Gora. They collect small quantity of rice or millet from each individual in order to meet the expenditure of the ceremony. The collected rice is kept by these persons. When the time of festival approaches, they prepare rice beer and collect the sacrificial animals, fowls, chicken and eggs for sacrifices. After completion of these preparation they inform the people about the date of performance so that they could store the required food grains and fire woods etc for the taboo period observed after the festival.
On the appointed day, the priest, his assistant and other Dree Kholi or Gora sit on the oldest clan 'lapang' of the village after being dressed up as warriors. They recite incantations called Dree Barni for a day. For instance, Hong village priest sits on the lapang of Nami clan, which is one of the oldest clans of the Hong village. After the completion of the recital of incantation, they go round all the clans lapang of their village along with sacrificial animals, fowls and eggs and sacrificial structure (Yuygyang). All these things are taken to the place of sacrifice. The sacrifice-place is generally located near the river of Apatani valley. The sacrificial structure or Yuygyang is cut into pieces and thrown into the river and it implies that the pests and insects are to be flooded out from the agricultural fields.
The Yuygyang for Dree is constructed from a particular plant called 'pemupello'. Only two pieces are required for the construction of sacrificial structure for Dree. The Yuygyang for Tammu God and Metii are constructed from bamboo decorating it nicely with bamboo shaves and basket (Byodungchukha). The children and women are not allowed to take the meat of sacrificed animals and fowls.
On the festive occasion of Dree, every individual prepares rice beer and women present a vessel of rice beer to their elderly bothers, sisters, son-in-law etc, as a symbol of love and affection. They reciprocate by presenting a piece of bacon or roasted meat of mithun-cow to them.
On the same day, the woman and children are involved in rejoicing and merry making singing traditional songs called 'Damingda' which is associated with Dree festival. This song basically welcomes man and god on this occasion, describing the greatness of Apatanis of the past and present, sketches the geographical location 'Khallo Sanii' of the Apatanis and their neighbouring tribes, and recalls beautiful memories of love affairs of man and woman exemplifying their ancestors Loder-Byai and Umi-Ubyang etc.
After observing Dree, seven days taboo period is strictly observed in every village with effect from the date of festival. During this period, people are not allowed to work in the field or garden nor they can bring green vegetables and fire woods. It is believed that if the observance of these taboos is violated the performance at the time of festival may not be successful.
Dree festival has been modernised with increasing popularity all over the state as well as outside. The joint celebration at a central place was started in 1967 at Nenchaya near the old Ziro town by the initiation of intellectual group of Apatanis. Since then the date of celebration of the festival was fixed from 4 to 7th July for every year. They not only introduced folk-song and dance competition, but also introduced various games and sports.
On the appointed day, mithun, cow, goat, fowls and eggs are sacrificed at altar of Dree. In olden days, these were not sacrificed except fowls and eggs. The meat of these animals are cooked and offered to the guest along with rice, cucumber and beer.
One of the most important change of the Dree celebration is, singing of 'Dree Flag song' in the inaugural function at altar of Dree and modern songs, dance, games and sports introduced which gives great gaiety of enthusiasm. Now-a-days, they do not strictly follow the religious taboos of Dree. It is celebrated as a seasonal festival of joy and glee when plantations of all crops are over, for the well being of the seasonal crops like paddy, millet etc. This celebration is done to appease the gods and goddess to ensure better crops and prosperity to mankind. The season is marked by maturity of strawberries and cucumber which are the only two fruits utilised in the celebration of Dree. In this community festival the children normally takes maximum part.
Reh – (Idu Festival) Reh is one of the most important festivals of the Idus. The Idus believe that they are the sons and daughters of the divine mother 'Nanyi Inyitaya'. But none can get her blessings and keep alive bond of brotherhood and social feeling strong, unless one performs the puja or celebrate the Reh festival. But it is so expensive that only a few people can afford to celebrate the festival for propitiation of the supreme creator, the great mother 'Nanyi Inyitaya'.
The festival is celebrated during February-August. The people who inhabit snow fall areas viz. Talo, Amru, and Dri villages of the Dibang valley celebrate it during summer and monsoon i.e. during June-August, when the climate is moderate and shoal of fishes are available in streams and rivers. The Idus in the other parts celebrate the same during February to May.
The festival requires a number of sacrificial buffaloes for offering to the great mother 'Nanyi Inyitaya'. Presents such as money in cash and pigs are given to the relatives. The festival being very expensive, all arrangements and preparations for the festival have to be made four or five years before the actual celebration of the festival. As such a person wanting to celebrate this festival has to take resort to the system locally called 'Ada' which is nothing but collection of mithuns, pigs, cash, money etc., even by way of loan from others. When 'Ada' is completed a tentative year is fixed about one year ahead of the actual celebration. The preparation of rice beer in large scale locally called 'Yunyiphri' is under taken, three to four months before the actual celebration.
After all necessary arrangements and preparations are made, 'Tayi' a form of calendar is served to all kith and kin as an invitation to come to the celebration on scheduled dates. The 'Tayi' is counted by knots on a string and each knot is cut off as a night passes on, one after another. The invited kith and kin arrive at the place of celebration when two knots remain on the string.
The Reh festival is celebrated for 6 days. The first day is called Andropu'. It is observed by offering prayers so that the festival may pass off smoothly. The mithuns are brought and tied near the house. The 'Naya' dance is held during the night. Eyanli is the second day and may be termed as killing day of animals such as mithuns and buffaloes. The guests are entertained with rice, meat and rice beer. The third day is called 'Iyili'and on this day heavy feast is arranged and everybody is entertained. Presents of meal-rice are also supplied to the neighbouring villagers who fail to come to the festival.
Ilyiromunyi is the fourth day of the festival. There is not much feasting on this day. The priest only performs the rituals in favour of worshiper for bestowing upon him wealth, all round prosperity and for general well-being. Omen is observed by pouring 'Yu' rice beer into the ears of a pig, bound and laid on the ground. If the pig does not fidget, it is considered evil and result in bad crops, epidemic etc otherwise it is good.
The fifth day is called Aru-Go. On this day the remaining food stuff and other drinks are prepared for the feast and taken with co-villagers. The sixth day is the concluding day of the festival is known as 'Etoanu'. On this day the blood smeared seeds are sown in the fields and rice beer is poured at the trunk of the stump for the goddess of the house hold.
Si-Doni – (Tagin Festival )It is the most significant festival of the Tagins and is celebrated in January. Si signifies the earth and Doni is the sun. They believe that, the sun, the moon, the earth and the natural elements around them play a vital part in their day to day functions. It is with these factors in back ground that their important festivals are performed. During the festival 'Etting', rice powder mixed with Apeng (rice-beer) is made to a paste and everyone liberally applied with it. Everybody contributes in kind and cash. Si-Doni festival being conducted on a large scale cannot be performed individually due to huge expenditure involved. Hence it is celebrated collectively. The local youths work day and night for about a month in preparation of the festival. The elderly person who form the members of the Si-Doni committee direct the operations and the selected Nibu (priest) guides and performs the Si-Doni festival like 1) Sune-Rabo, 2) Takar, 3) Gene Koni Bakar and Hoye Penam. It is understood that by celebrating the Si-Doni festival the creators Si and Doni would not only be satisfied but also bless the people with good crops and prevent diseases. In fact Si-Doni festival is the festival for prosperity, plenty and success. During this festival boys and girls in colourful dresses and split bamboo head gears (Donger) sing and dance.
Boori Boot – (Hill Miris Festival) The Boori Boot festival is exclusively performed by the Hill-Miris. The festival usually falls in February. Boori Boot means to get together irrespective of age, sex, caste to hail the spring and successful harvest. The festival also invokes the spirit of Boori Boot to bless them with prosperity and free from diseases of any kind. The festival is performed collectively. The young members do all the work under the elders guidance. The Nibu (priest) performs Puja as well as conduct sacrifice. 'Etting' is profusely applied on one and all. The festival is of three days duration.
Nyokum - (Nishi Festival) The month of August every year is the time for celebrating Nyokum or the worship of goddess of crops (Lakshmi)) and other Gods and Goddess. On the first day, before an altar of images and symbols of the gods and goddess, the priest starts the Puja by chanting prayer and girls dance and sing to propitiate the unseen god and goddess. They sing about abundant crops and good will, health and unity among all the people, joy and mutual co-operation and peace and plenty every year. On the second and concluding day, the villagers of the neighbouring villages perform their Puja in their villages and come in long procession. The sacrificial animals like dogs, pigs and chicken are either carried or hung in long bamboo poles. On the arrival at the place of worship the people go round the altar chanting and the atmosphere seems to be sur-charged with a feeling of devotion and godliness. The animals are sacrificed and after invocation of the blessings, the Puja comes to a conclusion. Yulo – (Nishi Festival)The Nishis perform a number of religious ceremonies of which one called 'yulo' is important. Yulo is performed for the welfare of the society. The ceremony is marked by a sacrifice of 'mithuns' in which the priest collects the blood of animals in a bamboo tube and hangs it in front of his house as a mark of distinction