Sunday, November 18, 2018
Mizoram

Festivals


In Mizoram, there are three main festivals in a year. Festivals are called Kut in Mizo language. The three Kuts are Chapchar Kut, Mim Kut and Pawl Kut. All the three festivals are connected with agricultural activities. The festivals are celebrated with feasts and dances.

Chapchar Kut

Chapchar Kut celebrated after completion of the cutting of jhums in March, is a thanksgiving festival. In olden days, villagers faced many dangers and difficulties in cutting down dense forests with their simple Daos and axes. A big feast is organised to celebrate the success in jhum cutting. The festival continues for seven days and even beyond if the villagers would afford it. A few days before the day is fixed for the festivities, hunting parties from the village would go out in the forests and rivers for hunting wild animals, trapping birds, and catching fish. On this occasion Zu would be brewed in a large quantity.

On the first day of the festival, pigs would be killed by the members of the chief's clan for the feast. Pork in big quantities would be eaten and lot of Zu would be consumed. This day was called Lushai Vawk Tlah Ni which literally means the day on which the Lushias kill pigs.

On the second day, members of the other clans in the village would kill their pigs for the village feast. On the third day, which was known as Kut day, Zu would be taken in the houses in which someone had died during the year. On this day before sunset in the evening people particularly mother and children dressed in their best would gather in the open space in the village at the Lungdawh, which is a stone platform put up as a memorial to the dead, bringing with them rice, boiled eggs and meat. One would try to force the food down the throat of one's friends. This was known as Chhawnghnawt. After sunset the young boys and girls would get together in the houses of well-to-do-villagers. They would spend the night in drinking, singing and dancing.

The next day was known as Zupui Ni which was the day of drinking a particular type of liquor called Zupui which was brewed from well husked rice. In the evening before sunset, young men and girls dressed in their best would gather in the open space of the village for singing and dancing. They formed a circle in which the young men would have their arms across girls who would alternate between the boys. Within the circle would be the drummer or gong beater, who would chant while the young people would sing and move slowly keeping time with the song. This dance was known as Chai dance. During the dance, the children of the village would go on serving the dancing boys and girls Zu of the best variety in bamboo cups.

The next day was called Zuthingni or the day of drinking a special type of Zu. On this day there would be a general dance in the village. Zu drinking would go on. The dance would continue day and night until the Zu supply would run short.

The last day of the festival was known as Ziapur ni or the day of rest after eating and drinking. On this day people would relax after hectic days of festivals. They would not go out to the jungle which was believed would bring bad luck.

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