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Ethnique to be bigger, better

- 3-day Mising festival from Jan. 3

Jorhat, Dec. 24: The catchy phrase, “Go dancing, goom goomrag”, coined especially for Ethnique ’14, contains in it the promise of bigger and better things in the third edition of the Mising cultural festival, to be held at the I-CARD ground here from January 3.

Father Thomas Kalapurackal, director of the Institution for Culture and Rural Development (I-CARD), Bagchung, here said this year, songs and dances of the Mising community won’t be the only attraction. Songs, dances and karm puja by the Adivasi community and another performance by a local Bihu dance troupe will be staged as well.

The message this time would be that the Misings are becoming confident as a community and also want to integrate with other cultures.

In order to create the ambience of a Mising village with its entire attendant accoutrements, the I-CARD campus, called the Life Plus campus, has been filled with structures and symbols of the Mising community.

Apart from the nine-step fountain, a ritual pillar with religious symbols like the totem poles of the Mexicans has been made. A man-made pond with steps, a canal of water symbolising the Brahmaputra under an arcade of almond trees, chang ghars, a weaving unit, a bamboo semi-covered eating area, equipment which go into the making of the traditional apong (rice beer) and a wall painted with pictures of different aspects of Mising life make up the environment of the event.

“The nine represents the nine clans of the Misings. The cemented totems have embossed on them religious symbols known as the karsing karteng (heavenly bodies) in the form of five stars, sun, moon and a fireplace. It also has the sacrifice of a pig, sowing and reaping of paddy and the cutting of a cock symbolised on it, all symbols of their life,” he said.

Misings like the river and reside near the Brahmaputra throughout their lives. The British referred to them as the riverine people. In the pool they will show how they catch fish after chasing them with spears. Their tradition of making apong would also be shown but this time consumption of it will not be allowed to prevent any law and order problem.

“We have taken tips from western cooking which uses brandy and wine for preparing food and reinvented Mising cuisine by using apong to cook a few dishes,” Father Thomas said.

The District Rural and Development Authority has been contacted and so an exhibition of local handicrafts and food stalls would be an added attraction this year.

Father Thomas said the festival, held for three days from the first Friday of January, in the last two years has garnered a lot of interest and people have donated generously for the third.

“We might construct two special Mising huts which can be rented out for the night if someone wants to stay over,” he further said.

Goomraag, lereli, solleya are the dances of the community and ali ai ligang is their harvest ceremony, all of which will be showcased on the three days.