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.

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