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Arunachal Pradesh Foundation Day 2024: Colourful festivals of the state

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Arunachal Pradesh
 
Popularly known as the land of ‘Dawn-lit mountains’ Arunachal Pradesh is one of the most beautiful States located in the North-Eastern part of India. It is a treasure trove of natural marvels, which makes it a preferred travel destination especially for those who love nature.
Tawang, Ziro Valley, Roing, Sela Pass, Namdapha National Park, Bomdila, Dirang, Tezu, Pasighat, Nuranang Falls, Mechuka, Itanagar, Along, Bhalukpong, Sangti, Changlang, Bumla Pass, Anini, Daporijo, Hayuliang Village, Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary and Gorichen Peak are some of the popular tourist attractions  in Arunachal Pradesh.
A land of tribal cultures, Buddhist monasteries, pristine lakes, high altitude mountains, and quaint hillside villages, Arunachal Pradesh also has beautiful festivals which are celebrated in different parts of the year.
Arunachal Pradesh became a full-fledged state of India on 20th February 1987. This date is celebrated as Arunachal Pradesh Foundation Day every year.  On Arunachal Pradesh Foundation Day 2024, here is a glimpse into some of the most popular and colourful festivals celebrated by its residents.

Festivals of Arunachal Pradesh

Losar Festival

Losar Festival

This is one of the main festivals of Arunachal Pradesh which is celebrated to welcome the Tibetan New Year spanning for a fortnight. With an aim to ward off evil and invite positive energy and peace in every home, the festival is marked by cleaning homes, hoisting religious flags over every house, offering prayers, reading Holy Scriptures and lighting butter lamps in every home.
This festival is observed by people belonging to the Monpa tribe, which forms a dominant population in the state’s Tawang and West Kemang districts. The Monpas, who are the followers of Mahayana Buddhism, worship the local deity and enjoy local wine and traditional food together during the festival. They also dress up beautifully in ethnic jewellery and outfits.
Tawang is one of the most popular tourist attractions in North East India. The festival is celebrated in February or early March and travellers flocking the valley during this part of the year can witness this beautiful festival. Traditional mask dance, Aji Lhamu is a major attraction of this festival.

Dree Festival

Dree Festival

The Dree festival is celebrated in July first week every year. It is celebrated by the Apatani tribe, also known as Apa, which resides in the Ziro valley in the Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh. It is an agricultural festival observed for seeking protection against insects and pests, famine and epidemics and praying for soil fertility of the soil. Worshipping is done in a place closer to the paddy fields, the exact venue is selected by the priest. Deities like Tamu, Metii, Danyi and Harniang are worshipped during this festival.

Solung Festival

Solung Festival

Celebrated in the first week of September, Solung is a popular agriculture festival observed by the Adi Tribes residing in the lower part of Lower Dibang Valley district. After the seeds are sown, the people celebrate this festival seeking prosperity and good harvest. Guardian deities Kine Nane, Doying Bote, Pedong Nane and Gumin Soyin are worshipped during this festival.
The festival is celebrated for five consecutive days. The first day is called ‘Solung-Gidi Dogin’ (day of preparation), the second is the main day which is called Doreph-Long (the day of animal sacrifice). On this day, animals like mithuns and pigs are sacrificed and offered to Dadi Bote, the god of domestic animals. Locally made rice beer ‘Apong’ and meat is exchanged by the tribal people as part of the celebration.
The third day is called ‘Binnayat Binam’ (worshipping the goddess of crops and food), the fourth day is Taktor of Ekoph, (villagers prepare weapons), and on the fifth day, the priest gets a ceremonial send-off through music and dance.
During the festival, the leader Miri sings the ‘Solung Abung’ and narrates stories of the origin of the ancestors of the tribe and their heroic feats every day in the evening. Ponung dance performed by beautifully decked up ladies is a major attraction of this festival. Ladies of all age groups take part in this.

Chalo-Loku Festival

Chalo-Loku Festival
Chalo-Loku or Loku is the main festival of the Nocte tribe residing in the Tirap district of Arunachal Pradesh. Also known as the Nocte Naga, this is a Tibeto-Burmese ethnic group. The three-day long agriculture festival is celebrated during July-August and October-November. It is marked by animal sacrifice in the beginning which is followed by the Chamkat ritual and folk dance. Dancers deck up in traditional costumes and jewellery. The dance is performed at the house of the Chief. People from all age groups take part in this dance.
This is an interesting ritual, in which male children on reaching adolescence are included in the Paang (decision-making committee). Locally made rice wine ‘Apong’ is consumed by villagers together with their relatives and friends during this time. Pigs and buffaloes are sacrificed during this festival and the meat is cooked by the villagers.