- Celebrated on/during: April
The Tutsa tribe which is concentrated in the two districts of Changlang and Tirap of Arunacahal Pradesh has a unique and colourful cultural identity which can be witnessed through its different festivals. Tutsas observes numbers of festivals throughout the year to mark different important occasions. Some of the main festivals of Tutsas are HAKHO-PHAK ( beginning of agricultural season), CHAROK ( marks the beginning of the burning of organic matter from the jhoom field to add to the fertility of the soil), JATAN ( before cutting of the jungle for new jhoom field), CHAWIN ( sowing of seeds in the cleard jhoom plot), CHAMVI KUH ( harvesting season) RONG HON ( harvesting of all major jhoom crops) KUTOM/ KUNGOI ( festival solely dedicated to the maternal uncle and his niece and nephew since among the Tutsas, maternal uncle is considered as guardian and protector in emergencies) . Among all these festivals PONGTU KUH ( kuh-festival) is the main and major festival where all the Tutsas gather to celebrate and foster brotherhood and solidarity.
All festivals , ceremonies and rituals of Tutsa community revolved around agriculture and related activities. The festivals, rituals and ceremonies are organized right from the identification of the jhoom plot to the stage of harvesting of crops and consuming the harvested crop of the season. The Tutsa festivals and ceremonies are linked to the each and also with every stage of cultivation in an agricultural season.
One of the major festivals of Tutsa tribe is Pongtu which is being celebrated every year on 11th of April . Pongtu is an important and oldest agricultural festival celebrated by the Tutsas on the eve of rainy season. The word “ PONGTU” is composed of two words i.e., ‘Pong’ which means ‘WIND’ and ‘Tu’ means ‘RETREATING’. The Pongtu festival of Tutsas is celebrated before the harvesting of Millet rice and to welcome the New Year and to drive out the old. The Pongtu festival is observed by offering prayers to the supreme God Rangkhothak which is believed to be divine Goddess both benevolent and malevolent for bumper harvest, prosperity and protection from natural calamities, epidemics etc.
Though 11th April is the date fixed for the celebration of Pongtu festival in general, different Tutsa villages celebrate it over the month of April, May and June every year. The date of the festival is fixed by the village chieftain of respective villages in consultation with the village elders or Ngong-a-Wang and on the appointed day, the Thom ( Drum) is beaten up by a wooden handle to announce that Pongtu festival has started. According to age old custom the celebration of Pongtu in villages should start in Changra village first and not in any other village. It is only after Changra starts the celebration rest of the Tutsa villages can start with celebration of Pongtu in their respective villages. In similar manner the festival has to be wind up by Tut village of Tutsas which marks the end of Pongtu celebration.
The festival of Pongtu is aimed at fostering unity and brotherhood among the kith and kins belonging to clan and the family. The tribal/clan solidarity is also strengthened by way of celebrating this festival. The people exchange visits and as usual gala celebration with music, dance and feast marks this occasion. During the festival period people forget and burry differences or feeling of enmity which might have surfaced in the past. The villagers work in unity on this occasion, irrespective of their age and sex, socio-economic status and position.
After a week long celebration, the Tutsas go out in the jungle to collect their cows, buffaloes and other animals which are branded or marked for identification. Later the valuable ornaments, millet plants, weapons and agricultural implements are placed in the house and ritual worship is offered to the gods and goddesses as well as spirits by sacrificing a pig. The liver, lungs and legs of the animal sacrificed are examined and the prospect of the ensuing year is predicted by the Lungwang ( Chief). Rice beer is prepared by using Hi-Kan fire ( Traditional way of making fire by rubbing woods) . Sumptuous meal is prepared and enjoyed by the community and thus people enjoy this festival.
- Festive Attires :
Tutsa people of Changlang is well known for weaving which is a part of every household. Weaving has played an important role in displaying the culture and traditions of the Tutsa people. They have their own hand-woven unique designs on their dresses for both men and women. The Tutsas men generally wear woven chequer pattern wrapper (Lungi/Khaithung) of black and green colour, lined with red, yellow and white yarn and shirt (Samtong), bag (Khak), and a turban (Khuphok). The original dress of Tutsa men consist of woven loin cloth which is called a Lenguti (Rai).