Apatani’s are very well known for their unique practice of wet rice cultivation.They reside in a tranquil pine clad valley called Ziro at the core of Lower Subansiri District of Arunachal Pradesh.
Their unique method of irrigated rice cultivation without the help of scientific technologies is making many people wonder even today.
Dree festival 2021
Rice is the staple food of Apatani’s. Every year to avoid famine or wrath of gods, the Apatani’s celebrate a festival Dree which is considered as a traditional agricultural rite of Arunachal Pradesh. It is celebrated on 4th to 7th July every year.
The festival involves the sacrifice of fowls, eggs, and animals to please gods Tamu, Metii and Danyi Pilo (Sun and Moon God). Also, Pri-Dances, Daminda and other folk dances add color to the Festival.
The Apatanis celebrate the Dree festival centrally at Nenchanglya, the present Dree ground near Hija School. This venue was mainly chosen because it is centrally located in the valley, for its easy access of conveyance and the place has sufficient ground area for construction of sheds for a huge gathering.
The financial aid for this event comes from two groups of people. One group would go to Ziro and collect contributions or donations in kinds like mithun, goat, fowl, eggs, rice and other necessary materials for the celebration. The second group led by shri Lod Kojee was to proceed to Shillong for approaching the then NEFA Administration for financial assistance.
With proper administration and civilized society coming together the Dree festival is being organized on a large scale at a centralized place which brings together not only Apatani’s but other communities as well cementing the bonds of unity, integrity, and friendship.
Thus the event happens every year not just leaving it as a normal traditional rite, but it is considered as a rich traditional cultural heritage of the Apatani Community.
– Rekhaa Nagoji