Monday, July 14, 2008

Changing Months, Changing Hues

June, 2007

July, 2007

August, 2007

September, 2007

December, 2007

February, 2008

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Games Children Play

It has been some years since I participated in the Dree festival. When I briefly sneaked into the Dree ground in Itanagar yesterday, pleasant memories came flooding in. There was a lovely display of the game the Apatani children of the yore played. Ah, no, it has not been very long time back. Not very long ago, children still played 'achie taker' - in which they competed with each other counting as many stars as possible. There was then the 'ilyo tatu' game in which they urged their friends to come out in the evening to play. The one displayed here is a combination of many evening games. I sometimes pity today's children who get bored watching televisions or playing video games.

Will those carefree days ever come back to Ziro?

Friday, July 4, 2008

A Happy Dree

Dree is a ritual as well as a true celebration. The ritual is to propitiate the Gods of Agriculture for a good crop during the year and the celebration is the harvesting of the first crop of the year – taku (cucumber). That’s the reason cucumber is traditionally distributed during Dree.

In the days before 1967 when the Dree was centralized at Nenchalya, young men and women took leave from their agricultural tasks during Dree ‘anyo’ period and used to go for leisurely trekking each of them with a taku that they enjoyed together. Till lately, even the participants in the central celebration of the festival could be seen going to the ground with taku.

The other aspect, often not realized by many, is that Dree is not an event complete in itself. It is a part of a series of ritual that start during the preparation of soil in February till the crops are almost ready for harvest in September. First, Kiidi – Mother Earth and Miido – Sky God is propitiated for a fertile soil and favorable weather. It is followed by Metii so that the germinating crops are protected from Pyodu Biinyi – the God of Famine. Then comes Dree to protect the tender plants from pests and Tamu to destroy them (the pests). Yapung – the Rain God is then appeased in September to protect the crops from hailstorms.