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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 was celebrated after completion of the cutting of jhums. It was a thanks giving festival. The villagers faced many dangers and difficulties in cutting down dense forests with their simple Daos and axes. They would organise a big feast in the month of March to celebrate the success in jhum cutting. The festival continued 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.

Mim Kut

The Mim Kut was a festival celebrated before the hard work in the jhum was over. It would take place in September. The festival lasting for one or two days would be in memory of someone who had died during the previous year. Fresh vegetables, maize bread, necklaces and cloth would be placed on the memorials of the dead as offerings to them. It was believed that their spirits would revisit their house during the Mim Kut. Zu would be taken in houses in which someone had died during the year. On the second day everybody would have a meal of bread.

Pawl Kut

Pawl Kut was the harvest festival which was celebrated during December to January after the village had gathered its harvest. Lasting for one to two days, the villagers would feast and dance in thanksgiving for the harvest. There is a legend regarding the origin of this festival. In the olden days when the Mizos were living to the east of the Tiau river in the chin hills, which is now in Burma, there was famine for three consecutive years. In the fourth year the people had a bumper crop. The people believed that this was a blessing of the supreme god and as a thanksgiving they celebrated Pawl Kut. It was customary for everyone to eat meat and eggs during Pawl Kut. A few days before the day is fixed for the feast, the men would go out hunting wild animals, trapping birds or fishing. One would get as much meat as one's means would permit. Even the poorest would kill at least a fowl for the household feast. As in Chapchar Kut, mothers and children would gather together at the Lungdawh bringing with them plates of rice, boiled eggs and meat and feed one another performing Chhawnghnawt. The youngmen and girls would also attend the Chhawnghnawt. The men would gather in the houses of well-to-do persons and Zu would be drunk. The festivities were followed by Eipuar Awm Ni or the day of rest.

Besides these three festivals, some more festivals are also celebrated which are :

Thalfavang Kut

Mizoram celebrates the festival of Thalfavang Kut every November. This festival is celebrated after the completion of weeding of the land in preparation for the forthcoming harvesting season. This festival also depicts the cultural heritage and the traditional games of the Mizo. It has given the community an opportunity to come together and renew old bonds and ties.

Christmas

Christmas is one of the most important events of the Mizos. This festival is usually celebrated from 24th December to 26th December. Christmas Eve is celebrated on the 24th followed by celebrations in the church on the 25th of December. On the last day a great feast is organized where everyone from children to adults take part with great fervor and festivities.