With more than 200 tribes, the northeast Indian states are a treasure trove of cultures and customs. The sheer diversity of the people and cultures of northeast India makes the place so interesting and enchanting. To know about a culture, the best way is perhaps to participate in their festival. The seven sisters and Sikkim celebrate so many indigenous and local festivals. Each festival is unique in its own ways. Here we present 8 major festivals of the 8 northeastern states. A vacation planned around these festivals will be a perfect way to know the place and its people as well as spending the holidays in a unique way. Read on to know about the festivals of northeast.
Bihu Festival, Assam
Bihu is the main festival of Assam celebrated all over the state. There are three different Bihu celebrated in Assam – the Rongali Bihu, Kati Bihu and Magh Bihu celebrated at different times of the year. The Rongali Bihu is the most important of the three observed in the month of April celebrating the Assamese new year and the spring festival. The Bhogali Bihu or the Magh Bihu is celebrated in the month of January and is all about food. The Kongali Bihu or the Kati Bihu is the sombre, thrifty one reflecting a season of short supplies and is an animistic festival. It is celebrated in the month of October. Bihu celebration is accompanied with folk songs and the famous Bihu dance of Assam. You will get to see the culture of Assam if you visit during the Bihu festival.
Losar Festival, Arunachal Pradesh
Losar Festival is the most important festival of the Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh. Losar is the New Year festival of the Monpa tribe. The festival is usually celebrated in the later part of February or early March. The locals follow their own customs to celebrate the Losar, people visit the house of relatives and friends. Masked dances are performed in the monasteries during this time.
Cherry Blossom Festival, Shillong
Organised by the Meghalaya Government, the Cherry Blossom Festival is a relatively new festival celebrated with much pomp and show in Shillong. The Indian International Cherry Blossom Festival is the only cherry blossom festival to be celebrated in autumn. Shillong city is filled with pink and white hues of the cherry blossoms giving it a wonderful sight. The festival has guided night walks under illuminated cherry blossoms, live music, and stalls showcasing the cuisine, wine, arts and craft of the region. Usually celebrated in the month of November, the Cherry Blossom Festival is a celebration of nature.
Hornbill Festival, Nagaland
Hornbill Festival is the premier festival of Nagaland, an event to bring all the tribes of Nagaland under one platform to celebrate their culture and thus promote tourism in the state. Usually celebrated between December 1 to December 10 every year at Kisama, the Naga Heritage village. Kisama plays host to a weeklong medley of cultural performances, indigenous games, handlooms and handicrafts, music events, fashion, cycling, motor sporting, events, a kids carnival, floral galleria, food courts, film festival and a series of competitions in various activities. The Hornbill festival is an exotic festival of Nagaland.
Sangai festival, Manipur
Sangai Festival is an annual cultural festival organized by the Manipur Tourism Department to promote tourism and the cultural heritage of the state. The festival is named after the Sangai, the brow-antlered deer, only found in Manipur. The festival reflects the rich traditions and the art and culture of the state. Raas Leela, Manipur’s classical dance form is showcased here. other folk dance forms like the Kabui Naga dance, Bamboo dance, Maibi dance, Lai Haraoba dance, Khamba Thoibi dance also form a part of the festival. The festival displays the local Manipuri handlooms and handicrafts. Indigenous sports of Manipur are also an integral part of the Sangai Festival. The festival is held during the month of November.
Orange Festival, Tripura
The Orange Festival is one of the important festivals of Tripura and is conducted in the Jampui Hills of North Tripura. The festival is celebrated to rejoice the bounty of nature and is in general a thanksgiving festival. In the Orange Festival, you will have a dazzling colorful experience with oranges decorated in artistic and creative designs depicting the culture of the place. The festival usually starts from November when the Jampui range is full of orange blooming in the orchards.
Thalfavang Kut, Mizoram
Thalfavang Kut is one of the major festivals of Mizoram celebrated to promote tourism and the cultural heritage of the Mizos. The festival is usually celebrated in the month of November before harvest to celebrate the completion of farming while waiting for the tough task of harvesting. The festival is widely popular and is celebrated all over Mizoram. The celebration includes display of cultural songs and dances, music, flower show, exhibit and sale of local handlooms and handicrafts.
Losoong is the Sikkimese New Year celebration usually held in the month of December in high spirits by both the Lepchas and Bhutia tribes of Sikkim. At Loosong, usually the farmers rejoice and celebrate their harvest. Although the festival is celebrated privately among family members and friends there is an air of festivity all around. The Black Hat dance takes place at this festival commemorating the victory of good over evil, with ‘chaams’ held in many monasteries two days prior to Losoong.
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