FESTIVALS OF MIZORAM
Mizoram, the land of smoky blue mountains, is one of India's most literate and culturally rich state. Surrounding on three sides by Myanmar and Bangladesh. In the festivals, folklores are sung, elaborate dresses are worn and music fills the minds of the people.
Anthurium festival of Mizoram is the most popular festival celebrated in the state. This festival is celebrated to promote tourism. The Anthurium Festival is organized annually by the Tourism Department in collaboration with the Horticulture Department. The financial support comes from the Central Government. The dual purpose of promoting this festival is; promoting the cultivation, marketing of the enthralling flower and attracting more tourists to the scenic beauties of Mizoram The festival is held every year in September at Tourist Resort Reiek. The festival falls during the peak season of the beautiful and exotic Anthurium. The festival is a three day extravaganza of culture, music, dance, games, sports, fashion, handloom, handicrafts and local cuisine. Archery, rifle shooting, and angling competitions are also major features of this festival. The Festival is held at Reiek Mountain, which is situated at a height of 1584 meters and is an hour drive from Aizawl. The Reiek Mountain is surrounded by thick lush green temperate trees and bushes. The mountain boasts the legendary work, folk lores and feats won by Mizo chief. The mountain acted as a hunting preserve for the Mizo chief. The spirit of celebration rejuvenates the mind and the body, and takes away the stress and monotony of daily life. This festival also serves as a main purpose of bringing togetherness among the different tribes in Mizoram. Anthurium festival showcases the past and present Mizoram with entertainments and also promotes the Mizo culture. The festival has attracted domestic and foreign states to the beauty and culture of Mizoram.
Chapchar Kut is named after bamboo that has been cut and is drying. This agricultural festival is celebrated before planting begins. The festival is celebrated in the month of March. Cheraw or the bamboo dance is a big part of the festival. Different styles of dance performances take place amidst beats of drums. Art, handicrafts, concerts, flower shows, and cuisines also play a major part of this festival. Towards the end of February, the Mizos prepare the land for fresh planting. After the planting, a few days of relaxation are followed before the serious business of sowing. The Chapchar Kut festival is celebrated during this relaxation period with merriment and enthusiasm.
On this day people of all ages, young and old, men and women get dressed up in their colorful costumes. Distinguishing head gears and jewelries are paired with the traditional colorful dresses. Various folk dances and traditional songs are accompanied by beating of drums, gongs and cymbals. They dance in blissful celebration of life, each team displaying the preeminent of its region. Some dances are firmly martial dance performed by warriors with their weapons and trophies. Bamboo dance is another feature which is performed with the help of long bamboo staves. Bamboo dance is considered as the most colorful and distinctive dance of the Mizos and this dance form requires skill and an alert mind. Khuallam, Chheihlam, Chai and Sarlamknce performances performed during this festival.
The ceremonies are accompanied by a feast. Friends from nearby villages are invited to this feast and Khuallam or the welcome dance is performed to greet the visitors and guests. Exhibition and sale of native Handloom and Handicraft products are organized during the festival. Other tourist attractions like flower show, food festival, music competition and different traditional games are also organized during the festival.
Thalfavang Kut is observed in Mizoram every year, to promote tourism and preserving the cultural heritage of the people. The Thalfavang Kut festival is celebrated in November. The festival is celebrated before harvest to celebrate the completion of farming while waiting for the tough task of harvesting. The festival is celebrated by the farmers as cultivation is the major livelihood of this state. This tradition of celebrating is being kept alive as a tourism promotion venture. The festival is being organized in rural areas to give tourists the opportunity to know-how and take pleasure in rural life.
The celebration includes displaying of cultural dances, music, flower show, exhibit and sale of local handloom and handicrafts, demonstration and sale of local Agriculture / Horticulture product and by-product. The festival is extremely popular and widely celebrated festival in Mizoram. All the tribal groups of Mizoram participate with keenness and participate in various cultural events which are organized during this festival. The vivacious clothes add to the festive mood. The festival includes dancing and singing of local songs, which are sung by the farmers while they dance. People engross in the feast as a part of this celebration. The festival also significantly allows the tribal groups of Mizoram to represent the natural cultural trend of their community. The tribal people participate from far flung areas and represent their cultural features and also get a chance to interact with people from remote corners of Mizoram. Celebration start after the weeding is completed and also serves the next step in preparing the land for the next harvest. The Thalfavang Kut festival is exceptionally successful in depicting the cultural heritage of Mizoram.
One of the major festivals of the Paite communit, Khuado Kut is celebrated as a thanksgiving festival when all the harvesting work is done. This festival is held during full moon nights which are regarded auspicious for this event. The term Khuado is a combination of two terms - khua and do. Khua means a village or town. Khua indicates night time or darkness. Khua also refers to the deity Khuanu/Khuazing of the past animistic Paite Zomis. Do on the other hand means to defend oneself. Khuado can be summed up as an event or an occasion in which the villagers fight back the evil spirit and engage themselves in a sort of spirituality. This was done to predict the well being of the village and also wish to have a good harvest for the next season. The festival marks organizing of a mega feast where the whole village, young and old alike share an extravagant meal till the last day of the festival.
The Khuado festival is organized by the village chief who also consults the other elders of the male clan in the dormitory of the village. One or more male dormitory can be present in a village and it also can depend on the size of the village.
Once the dates are announced by the chief, every household in the village gets ready to collect resin (bark of the pine tree) from the forest which serves as the purpose of lighting. Light plays a pivotal role in Khuado festival. Each household lights a torch to ward off the evil spirit of their home. The people of the community shout, chant and produce maximum noise by using any handy instruments like drums, gongs, cymbals and pipes.