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Harvest Festivals of Misings: Ali-A:yé Lígang and Po:rag

21 Feb 2020

Misings are one of the most culturally rich indigenous communities of Assam. Since a long period of time, they have preserved their unique identity and traditions. The Misings have two important harvest festivals – Ali-A:yé Lígang and Po:rag. Both the festivals are celebrated with much pomp and grandeur. While Ali-A:yé Lígang is a pre harvest festival, Po:rag is a post harvest festival. In both the festivals, prayers are offered to the Almighty and ancestors for a good harvest and welfare of all.

Ali-A:yé Ali: A:yé Lígang is an important harvest festival of the Misings. Every year, the festival is celebrated on the first Wednesday of Phagun month. In Mising language, ‘Ali’ means yam, ‘A:yé’ means ‘fruit’ and ‘Lígang’ means beginning of sowing.
The festivities start with the head of a family ceremoniously sowing a small quantity of paddy seeds on a patch of land. Along with community feasts, traditional songs and dances are also performed. Prayers are then offered to the Almighty and ancestors for an abundant harvest. In the feast, purang apin (boiled sticky rice wrapped in torapat leaves) and po:ro apong (a type of rice beer) are served. In the evening, young men of the village perform gumrag so:man (a traditional form of song-dance) in the front yard of every household. The festival is traditionally celebrated over a period of five days. With regard to Ali-A:yé Lígang, many popular beliefs are prevalent in the Mising society. For instance, the fourth day puts a prohibition on digging of earth, felling of trees, eating of eggs, fruit, fried or sour items, fishing, making a fire in the fields, etc. It is believed that violation would lead to unhealthy crops.

Po:rag: Po:rag is a post-harvest festival of the Misings. It is celebrated once in a period of two/three years after a winter/summer harvest. Elderly people of the village offer their prayers before the Almighty and ancestors for prosperity. A community feast is held where pork and plenty of po:ro apong are served. A unique feature of this festival is that an invitation is extended to all the women of the village who are married to men living in other places. Prominent people from neighbouring villages and local dignitaries are also invited to join in the festivities. The celebrations usually go on for three days amid feasting, singing and dancing.

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