Communities of Arunachal Pradesh are known for his or her festive moods and vibrant dances. Every festival celebrated here, involves the display of beautiful woven traditional attires, ornaments, songs, and dances in unison within the tribes of the state. The folk dance of Arunachal Pradesh performed not only uplift the charm of the festivals but also tell tales of heroic deeds that are passed down from generation to generation orally.
The dances also showcase a far better picture of their culture to the outside world. The Adi tribe forms one of the major indigenous tribal communities of Arunachal Pradesh and when it comes to celebrating festivals with fervor, they’re not lagging. Here’s a look into the beautiful folk dances of the Adis.
Folk Dances of Arunachal Pradesh:
1. Buiya Dance
The tribe to which Bhuiya folk dance belongs is understood as the Digaru Mishmi. The Digaru Mishmi women and men perform the dance. Often performed after a grand feast or at some family gathering, the Bhuiya dance may be a joyful dance that binds the people together. Bhuiya dance is additionally performed in multiple festivals like Tazampu, Duiya, and Tanuya.
2. Chalo Dance
The Chalo dance is a component of Arunachal Pradesh’s most awaited festival, called Chalo Loku. This festival may be a grand celebration in the state and takes place every year in October and November.
It’s a celebration of the Nocte tribe. The name “Chalo Loku” translates to paddy cultivation season in English. It’s celebrated just before the farmers harvest the paddy. This festival may be a way by which the Nocte tribe says goodbye to a past season.
3. Wancho Dance
Wancho tribe’s most vital festival is known as Oriah. The celebrations happen in the spring months of March and April. The festival begins with prayers, then music and dance are organized for entertaining the villagers. The Wancho dance is performed at this festival. The dance brings together all members of the tribe which creates a sense of solidarity.
4. Pasi Kongki
Another popular folk dance of Arunachal Pradesh, Pasi Kongki may be a celebration of a tribe called Adi. The dance is performed to narrate the welfare work that the Pasi has done. It’s indeed a unique representation of the rich culture that defines the Adi tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. The dance is performed to the tune of a song sung by the locals.
The song is named Alabang. The dance depicts how the Pasi would attend the plains to fetch iron and other essentials from the market. They might march on foot, crossing the damaging hilly terrain. The iron was procured from the plains and then delivered to the smith known as the Pasi Mide.
The smith’s job was to rework the raw iron into sharp Dao’s or knives of various shapes and sizes. Through the Pasi Kongki dance, the tribe pays tribute to those great men who risk their lives to fetch items for the villagers.
5. Ponung Dance
Ponung Dance belongs to the Adi tribe. Ponung dance is a crucial religious celebration for the Adi tribe. The Ponung folk dance was performed to wish to God just before the harvest period. The dancing young girls and ladies form a circle. The Ponung dancers place their hands on each other’s shoulders as they perform the steps.
In some cases, they hold hands to make the circle. There’s only one male who takes part in the show. This man is understood as the Miri. He stands within the Centre of the circle formed by the women and sings a folk song, which is the only music to which the women dance.
The song narrates information about the origin of the crops they harvest, the history of the Adis, and far more. The Miri also plays an instrument called the Yoksha. It’s shaped in the form of a sword and shaken by the Miri as he sings along.
Discs of iron loosely attached to the present sword-like Yoksha, produce a rattling sound. The Ponung dance steps are simple. The ladies move in the circle in rhythm.
6. Popir Dance
The Galo tribe of Arunachal Pradesh is understood for its popular Popir dance. This tribe celebrates several festivals around the year. Popir dance was completed for recreational primarily after the completion of important rituals of the Mopi festival.
The dance may be a tribute to the Goddess Mopin Ape. She is the Goddess of prosperity and fertility. She is one of the most revered goddesses of the Galo tribe. This makes the Popir dance an important part of the celebrations.
7. Bardo Chham
Bardo Chham literally translates to ‘Dance of the Zodiacs’. The people of the Sherdukpens community believe that there are twelve evils like twelve zodiacs, one for every month of the year. They seem over the course of the entire year in animal forms. Sherdukpens narrate this message through Bardo Chham dance during various regional festivities.
The Bardo Chham dance is performed by both the lads and women of the Sherdukpens community. They hold this dance very near their heart. It’s an act put up to depict the evils that mankind must fight and defeat, symbolizing the victory of excellent over evil.
Folk Musical Instruments of Arunachal Pradesh
Music and dance are an integral part of the life and culture of Arunachal Pradesh. There are three sorts of musical instruments- Wind Instruments, Solid Instruments and String Instruments.
1. Wind Instruments
These are called Ujuk Tapu and they are made of bottle gourd. They’re like the ‘Been’ used by snake charmers. They’re made up of four perforated cane flutes fixed to a hole made in the gourd. It’s usually played when the bride reaches her husband’s house.
It’s said that according to legends the father-in-law of a certain bride sensing her distress at leaving her maternal home made the Ujuk Tapu and asked his son to play it for her. When the son began playing a monkey heard the music and decreased from the tree and began dancing.
The bride then forgot her sorrow watching the monkey’s antics and have become happy. ‘Jingre Tapu’ is an instrument made partly of bamboo and partly of goat bone. The bone end exposes like a cone and is wide and the player blows through the bamboo end. ‘Pupe Tapu’ are reed flutes made from bamboo.
2. Solid Instruments
Ponu Yoksi is an instrument that appears like a sword with a sharp edge. Within the center are two iron plates with holes and when the player moves the sword, they make clanging sounds used by the priest to keep rhythm during ceremonial dances.
‘Ame Bali’ may be a heavy metal plate that struck with a stick to keep the beat. ‘Kiring’ is an instrument almost like the ‘ghungroo’ with metal beads bound together and the player jingles it with his hand. The ‘Emul’ is an instrument formed up of a group of star-shaped metal pieces which when clanged against each other produces a sound.
3. String Instrument
The ‘Pui’ is formed of a bottle gourd with bamboo and string. The ‘Guga’ features a string attached to a small bamboo stick and by strumming it the bamboo vibrates to produce music.