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Tiwa Tribe celebrated Wanchuwa Festival

  • Category
    History & Culture
  • Published
    25th Aug, 2021

Context

Tiwa tribesmen celebrated the Wanchuwa festival in Karbi Anglong district of Assam

About

About Wanchuwa festival:

  • The Wanchuwa festival is one of the most important celebrations in the life of the Tiwa tribe of Assam.
  • With every harvest, it comes with songs, dances, a bunch of rituals and people clad in their native attires.
  • With bamboo sticks in hand, the people proceed to rhythmically beat the rice powder, and occasionally pause to move around the circle.
  • The people of Tiwa tribe associate the bountiful harvest with the higher power from nature. This takes the form of pigs' skulls and bones which act as deities and are preserved through many generations.

About Tiwa Tribe

  • Tiwa Tribe is a community that centers itself around a traditional form of agriculture.
  • Also known as Lalung, thie indigenous community is recognized as a Scheduled Tribe (ST) within the state of Assam.
  • The Tiwa community is far removed from the noise and influence of urban chaos.
  • The Tiwas practice Jhum or shifting cultivation.
    • Under this kind of cultivation, the land is first cleared of any vegetation that is later set on fire (slash-and-burn). 
    •  The result is a more fertile soil that is freshly enriched with potash, all the more useful for a bountiful crop.
  • States:  Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
  • Festivals: The main festivals of the Tiwa tribes are: Three Pisu (Bihu), Borot utsav, Sogra phuja, Wanchuwa, Jonbeel Mela, Kabla, Langkhon Phuja and Yangli Phuja.

Sub-groups of the tribe:

The tribe is majorly divided into following 2 subgroups, which have contrasting cultural features:

Hill Tiwa:

  • They live in the westernmost areas of Karbi Anglong district. 
    • Language: Tibeto-Burman language. 
    • Religion: One-half of them follow their traditional religion. It is based on the worship of local deities. The other half has been converted to Christianity since the 1950s.

Plains Tiwa:

  • They live on the flatlands of the Southern bank of the Brahmaputra valley. 
    • Language: The vast majority speak Assamese as their mother tongue. Their descent system is patrilineal. 
    • Religion: Their religion shares many elements with Assamese Hinduism but remains specific.

Important tribes and their festivals

Tribe

Festival

Angamis

Sekrenyi

Bhils

Baneshwar fair 

Bhutia tribes

Losar and Losoong

Garo Tribes

Wangala

Gonds

Keslapur Jathra

Khasis

Nongkrem

Munda tribe

Mage Parab , Ind-Parab Jom-Nagoa or Jom Nawa,

Batauli, Kolom Sing, Phagu Festival, Sarhul or Ba

Parab ,Karam and Sohrai Festival

Santhals

Karam festival

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