Ali-ai-Ligang, the spring festival of Mishing ethnic community of Assam, was celebrated on Wednesday in the traditional spirit of brotherhood and harmony on the first Wednesday of the Assamese month Giinmur Polo (February-March).
As the name of the vibrant five-day festival
Ali-ai-Ligang suggests cultivation and harvesting, paddy was
sowed ritualistically in agricultural fields across the
state by men and women dressed in their traditional colourful
`Ali` means root and seed, `ai` is fruit and `Ligang` is
to sow. After the ceremonial sowing of the paddy seeds, the
young boys and girls of the tribe danced `Gumrag` to celebrate
Ali-Aye-Ligang or Ali-Ai-Ligang a spring festivity associated with agriculture celebrated by the mising or Mishing tribal people of Assam and other Northeastern states on the occasion of the beginning of the Ahu paddy cultivation. The festival marks onset of sowing seeds.
The festival begins on the first Wednesday of the Phalguna, the 12th month of the Hindu calendar.
Ali-Ai-Ligang Time of The Year
The Ali-Ai-Ligang begins on ‘Ligange lange’, the first Wednesday of ‘Gimur Polo’, which occurs in February in the General calender or on Wednesday of the month of Fagun of the Assamese Calender and in the month of February in English calendar which lasts for five days. Its 2016 date was 2 February.
Activities During the Festival
In this festival young people of the community in particular participate ‘GUMRAAG SOMAN’ and dance to the tune of folk songs and melodious ‘oi: nitom’.
The first day of the Ali-Ai-Ligang is marked by the ceremonial start of paddy sowing and throughout the festival many others activities such as ploughing and tree cutting are forbidden.
Feast In The Festival
The last day of festival called as ‘Lilen’ is observed with a grand community feast. During this festival, misings indulge in great banquet with Poro Apong or Nogin Apong (homemade Rice wine) with various dishes, especially made with pork meat.
‘Purang Apin’ (packed boiled rice) is cooked in water with special leaves. This is a special dish prepared by Misings which is cooked only during Ali Aye Ligang.
Dance forms & songs
In this festival a popular dance is performed by the young mising people which is known as Gumrag.
The formal dance of the festival starts from the easternmost house of the village and in the end it extending towards the field and the river. This dance is performed by encircling the courtyard of the house of the villagers.
The songs of Ali-Aye-Ligang do not remain restricted to the songs of youth alone. The subjects and themes of the songs are varied. They include the life of a man, his sufferings in this life and his death.
Apart from them, the songs describe the matters of individual love and affection including joy and pain. Mainly the songs of the festival speak of the various experiences of the misings in their day-to-day life.
The Music composed for these festivals consists of instruments like the dhul, taal, gong and gungang (gagana).
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