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DREE FESTIVAL: REDISCOVERING THE ROOTS


DREE FESTIVAL

Uddipta Sankar Pathak

Dree festival, the agriculture festival of the Apatani tribe of Arunachal Pradesh left me spellbound with their rich colourful rituals & culture. Dree festival is commonly associated with the sacrifice of fowls, eggs and animals to the Sun and Moon with a belief to keep famine away in the heavenly landscapes of Ziro Valley, Arunachal Pradesh, India. Apatani or the Tanii Tribe pray to their Nature God and Goddess for the best harvest of wet rice which is a unique practice. Dree Fest is a four day long venture starting from 3rd July to 6th July of each year showcasing the indigenous Apatani tribe in its authentic form along with its tradition.

I was privileged to be one of the spectators of the 47th Dree Festival from 3rd of July to 6th of July 2014 which was inaugurated by an Apatani priest, followed by the pomp and shows of the Apatani tribe. In the afternoon there was a meet of the dignitaries about the betterment of the Ziro valley and its acceptance as a WORLD HERITAGE SITE by the UNESCO. In the evening there was cultural shows where inter school dance competition and Mr Apatani Competition was solemnized.

Dree festival witnessed a magnificient MISS APATANI competition amongst the young Apatani girls, and not to mention the colourful evening of various dances and music by the locals of the tribe. On the 5th of July, Dree is officially celebrated at the common ground after unfurling the Dree flag which marks the inaugural of the festival by the Chief Guest followed by the Dree Anthem. The day long programme included speeches by various dignitaries, reading out the Dree mythology which was one among the various mythologies behind the celebration of the Dree festival.

And to add sparks to the celebration various folk dances, pre dances, release of books, music albums, and showcasing of animated films took place. The day winded up with the best of its glittering traditions of dancing Daminda in the ground with the ministers as well as the whole of the Apatani community. The very next day as a part of the rituals the priest would sacrifice a Mithun, believed to protect the mankind and prosperity of the life, traditional games are played in its authentic form and a mass lunch is served to the whole of the population present marking the end of the festival.

But this is not yet over for the young enthusiatic energetic crowd as they await for the lively performance of their own local artists and the rocking performance of Lou Majaw, making them dance and scream to the top of their spirit and thus making the 47th Dree festival a grand success.

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