Life is a celebration in India, from celebrating different seasons to harvesting, festivals are celebrated with full enthusiasm. One such festival is traditional Chapchar Kut festival which is celebrated across Mizoram to mark the beginning of the spring. In the month of March when nature starts playing with colours, the people of Mizoram dressed in colorful clothes get together to celebrate this festival of happiness. Chapchar Kut festival is one of the oldest festivals of Mizoram and is a unique blend of ancient and modern festivity.
Chapchar Kut History
Chapchar kut is estimated to have started in 1450-1700 A.D in Suaipui village in Myanmar, where Mizo population was huge. It was celebrated to thank the God for saving the people from harm during the clearing of forest. During the festival people would dance, eat meat and drink Zu (rice beer) throughout the day. When the Missionaries came to Mizoram in 1894 they were discouraged to enjoy the festival. The newly converts and Missionaries felt traditions of Mizos like Chapchar kut were animistic practices and drinking of Beer were against the Christian values. But in 1973 Government of Mizoram took a major step and revived the festival and since then traditional Chapchar kut festival is celebrated across Mizoram.
Significance of the Festival
Chapchar Kut festival is a harvest festival named after a bamboo that has been drying and cut. In local language, “Kut” means festival and there are two more festivals connected with the different agricultural cycle, Mim Kut and Pawl Kut. During the month of February farmers cut bamboo forests to create space for jhum or seasonal farming. Chapchar refers to the process of drying the bamboos so that they can be burnt later. For subsequent farming, they have to wait, so they celebrate this free time by dancing and feasting.
Folk music and traditional dance performances are the major festivities of Chapchar Kut and people from various tribal communities from Mizoram participate in this festival. The Bamboo dance or Cheraw is one of the major attractions where the men tap the bamboos and women dance beautifully to the beats of bamboos. Each tribal group takes great pride in presenting their own form of traditional dance and songs. During this festival Khullam, Chheihlam, Chai, and Sarlamknce performance are enjoyed by all.
In this week-long Chapchar Kut festival, people participate all dressed up in their traditional clothes in vibrant colours. Jewellery and hats made with beads and feathers make their look more beautiful. One more interesting thing is people don’t wear shoes during the celebration.
Past few years this colourful festival of Mizoram is becoming popular among tourists. Tourist attractions like food festival, flower show, music competition and exhibition of handicrafts and handloom of the state are organised during Chapchar Kut. This beautiful spring festival is going to be celebrated from 2nd March this year. So, if you are planning to visit Mizoram go around Chapchar Kut festival and dive into the festivity of the place.
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