The tribes in Arunachal Pradesh, the remote hilly state in North Eastern India adore to their age old customs. For tourists, it can be quite fascinating to observe their lifestyle and various customs. Most of their festivals are related to harvest and social aspects. The Galo tribe for example celebrates the Mopin festival every year.
History and Myth behind Mopin
It is celebrated by them as they believe it can bring them relief from negative things in life like diseases, calamities, evil spirits etc. They believe celebrating Mopin also brings good luck and prosperity along with good crops in the coming days.
Nuances of Mopin festival
The festival starts on sixth / eighth of April every year. It is celebrated for a span of 5 days. The goddess whom they worship through this festival is called Mopin Ane. The festival commences with a ceremony of smearing rice powder on faces of people. Since rice is their main staple food, this is considered a holy ritual by the Galo people. It symbolizes social unity, purity and love. The rituals also include animal sacrifice. They usually sacrifice Mithoon for this festival.
The festival is marked by dancing by the girls and singing. They perform a special type of dance from called Popir. Young girls wear their traditional white attire and put on colorful head gears. They also wear multicolored beaded ornament. They usually stand in a circular queue for this dance. The folk songs are sung as the dancers resort to rhythmic dance steps. Watching the women reciprocate in rhythmic dance steps with vigor is quite an enjoyable experience. Overall, they have a blast during the few days of this harvest festival.
Like any other tribal festival in the state, Mopin is also associated with gorging on sumptuous foods and beverages. The Galo women also serve Apong, delicious local rice made wine. They also gorge on bamboo shoot and meat based dishes during this time.
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