folk dance of the Adis

 

Ponung Dance:

It is a folk dance of the Adis. Generally, it is performed during the festival that is celebrated before the harvesting. The purpose of this festival is seeking a good harvest and welfare of the village community. Ponung is an exclusively women dance in which young married women and girls take part. The dance performance is led by a Miri, who is a man adept in mythical songs about the origin of paddy and other crops. With the singing of mythical songs of the Miri, the iron discs that are fitted loosely in the hilt of the sword are rattled. The female dancers are dancing rhythmically on this background. They are singing in a chorus. The abhanga written on the origin of paddy is sung by the Miri, at the time of dancing.

Adi village is having a rich cultural way of living. The tribal people are more famous for their Ponung, dancing with the accompaniment of songs. All the girls dance in a circle with holding each other by stretching their hands over each other`s shoulders. The Miri dances and sings in the centre of the circle. He is holding aloft and shaking a sword like musical instrument called `Yoksha`. He initiates the singing and then the girls repeat the same lines in chorus. Girls are moving in a circle & dancing rhythmically at a low pace. On all-important & auspicious occasions Ponung is performed.

Adi Bari: A Performative Art

Adi Bari: A Performative Art

Talom Rukbo

 

 

Bari is a popular chorus song of male folk of the Adi which is performed during pime (Autumn) and unying-aaran (New Year festivals and New house ceremony) by sitting around the fire. The song is led by a main singer, followed by a group of people. bari has its particular characteristic lores of different types and varies from low to high like that of kawali and raga. The lores are very much classical, which cannot be picked up easily.

 

 

The bari performed in pime festival during autumn season is called barbi yi ying or podi pitpo bar. Here autumn season is described as a parting point of summer. Insects like snake, leech, mosquitos, etc. disappear during autumn season. The term barbi yiying is given after the name of an insect which appears on earth in autumn and disappears at the advent of spring. One of the main themes of this barbi yiying bari dwells at length on the life of this insect which was mysteriously born or found as a hard piece of meat from the thigh of a giant wild boar called gumgons. It was killed by the people who later became anxious to examine it. They boiled it in a bamboo chunga but it did not go soft like other meat. They went on boiling it for days together but it remained as hard as before. So they put it on bannana tree. At its touch, the bannana tree went dry. This was a great shock to the people and they put it on a hollock tree.They got the same result. They then put it on a flat stone, the stone broke into pieces. They threw it into the water, water started boiling and soon dried out. At their wit’s end they threw it towards a mountain. After a few days they peeped into the cave and heard a sweet voice. Anxious to know the source of the sweet voice, they invited priests from various places. But none could find out. Lastly, a priest called Sedi Relong Lotin Tabe detected that it was the very piece of meat that was thrown into the cave and it had transformed into a living creature and it was that creature which was singing. The insect was named after the priest, as Sedi Relong Lotin. The Adis believe that the insect took shape in autumn season, therefore it appears in the autumn season. It goes round the world singing with its sweet voice, causing natural changes.

The summer season disappears and dry season takes over; the green garment of the earth turns into yellow; dry season opens all roads and paths of movement of all natural creatures, so freely they move out; all poisonous insects are sealed up and all green fruits/grains are ready for food.

All these natural events are considered as the effects of the sweet song of the insect and blessing of the insect. Therefore, barbi yiying is regarded as a great messenger of natural changes and events. All these are described vividly/lively by the bari singer during pime Festival.

 

The next season and subject of bari is unying-aaran festival in winter season. Mythologically and philosophically, winter is called nyanyi the old aunt. Aaran festival is supposed to be brought by this old aunt from the land of koojum-kooja. (a civilised group of people of early days). It is beleived that people disappeared from the earth after a great battle against the spirit of water, when villages were eroded by water. Only the soul remained, koojum-nyanyi-meete, who came to human society with all festivals celebrated by the people of koojum-kooja. Here the winter is personified as living being by bari. It is said that the crust of the earth makes all arrangement of passages for quick and easy movement of nyanyi-meete (winter) to pass away from the earth. Therefore, green leaves become dry, river water turns dry, and the snow clad mountains welcome the mankind to arrange feast for nyanyi-meete.

Sometimes winter is regarded as a rich, kind and peaceful lady who brings happiness, peace and prosperity to mankind. Further she is supposed to bring some functionary duties as gifts to mankind and hand it over to new year (spring season) which again are inter-transferred to mankind by nature.

The gifts brought by nyanyi-meete are the arts of weaving, cultivation, festival, celebration, marriage ceremony, song and dance, and house construction.

In bari the spring season is regarded as a maiden girl or daughter of the year. As only daughter of the family (The New Year) she has taken over the above functionary duties from old aunt. As the first duty of the New Year, she puts new clothes to the Mother Earth and then the rest is left to mankind.

Bari is not only in touch with nature it has touch with spiritual aspects also. In Adi belief, house or home is regarded as the abode of souls of the family members with the beli; that it is the abode of household god (gumin soyin) who looks after the welfare of family. Therefore, house is always addressed as a personified being or spirit as follows : gumin babu (grand father gumin), soyin naane (grand mother soyin), gumin yaayi (father gumin), and soyin maami (mother soyin), gumin aji (baby gumin), and soyin olo (baby soyin)

In bari, the old house is addressed to as an old soul wearing old garment and the new house is addressed as a well-dressed newly born baby. The ceremonial feast is regarded as birth day feast and the ceremonial songs are treated as blessing and lullaby of the new house. Then the building materials – bamboo, wood, cane, leaves – are treated as limbs of natural creature like bone, veins, nails, hair etc. Thus there is spiritual attachment in the bari of new house ceremony.

During peak season of bari, among the experts, competition is held sometimes to test knowledge of various aspects of bari subject like mythology, philosophical back ground of creation of plants, animals, festivals etc.

Bari can be classified mainly into three types called ritok bari, nenem bari and, rellok bari. Every type of bari has its own characteristic tunes with different accent.

Thus the Adis also have their own traditional art of expressing all their philosophies of life and nature through bari songs enriching their cultural life. Therefore, bari is regarded and given a high status in the cultural realm of the Adis.

Donyi-Polo (or Donyi Polo, Donyi-Poloism)

literally “Sun-Moon”, is an animist religion followed by many of the tribal groups in Arunachal Pradesh, India (including the Apatani, Adi, Miri Tagin and Nishi tribes). Some anthropologists argue that Donyi-Polo is probably derived from the pre-Buddhist Bön religion of Tibet. Donyi Polo focuses on the worship of the sun and moon, who are considered the eternal watch deities of the supreme gods, Bo and Bomong. Followers of the Donyi-Polo tradition believe that all people of Arunachal Pradesh share a common ancestry from Abotani. The religion has no written scriptures, but has traditionally been passed down orally from each generation to the next. Believers pray to a number of spirits, deities and souls for blessings, but they principally worship the sun (Donyi) and the moon (Polo) as the visible forms of the gods. Donyi-Polo includes religious rituals which coincide with lunar phases and agricultural cycles. A follower of Donyi-Polo believes in the oneness of all living creatures, from the tiniest of organisms to the mightiest of animals, and that every living creature has a role to play in his or her life. They believe that a spirit (or soul) resides within all men, plants, animals,and the land that nourishes them (all of which have a connection with humans). The major deities in the Donyi-Polo tradition, (Kine Nane, Doying Bote, Pedong Nane and Gumin Soyin) play the role of guardians for their devotees. It is there duty to show their devotees, the path which is destined for them, yet decided by themselves. Although generally losing influence with the younger generations, as growing numbers convert to Christianity, Donyi-Poloism has undergone somewhat of a revival subsequent to the efforts of Talom Rukbo, the father of the modern Donyipolo Movement in Arunachal Pradesh. Efforts are now underway to give an organized form to the traditional beliefs and values of the Arunachal Pradesh region, and to protect the locals against coerced conversion to foreign religions

ADI NYI HISTORY I

adi warrior

 The Adi, or Bangni-Bokar Lhoba people is a major collective tribe living in the Himalayan hills of Nyingchi Prefecture, and they are found in the temperate and sub-tropical regions within the districts of East Siang, Upper Siang, West Siang and Dibang Valley. The older term Abor is a deprecated exonym from Assamese meaning ‘uncontrol’. Some of them are found in Southern Tibet (a little more north than South Tibet), around areas near the Indian border. The literal meaning of Adi is “hill” or “mountain top”.

Adi-Warriors

Tribes and organisation

The Adi live hill villages, each traditionally keeping to itself (many never leave it), under a selected chief styled Gaon Burra (British era development) who moderates the village council, which acts even as traditional court Kebang. The olden day councils consists of all the village elder and decisions were taken in a Dere (Village community house) on majority verdict. The tribes include,

adi-war-dance-dress

Language

The language spoken by this group is also called Adi, which is distantly related to the Chinese and Tibetan languages. It is spoken with minor variations among all the Adi tribes

Religion

Orgnally  as far i know Adis and all other Tani ethnics are usualyy ANIMIST.Today a growing number of Adi, especially among the youth, have converted to Christianity. Adis in Tibet, in particular the Bokars, have adopted Tibetan Buddhism to a certain extent, as a result of Tibetan influence. But in recent few years there was a revival in the faith and the search for indigenousity on the part of the people made it popular with the youth again.

An Adi Village House

An Adi Village House

An adi Village

These villages are quite remote – no paved roads, no signs, no running water, no electricity (aside from the few people that have solar panels). Thus, the villages are relatively unspoiled by the modern world and it is easy to gain a good insight into the traditional way of life.

The traditional Adi homes are built on stilts and feature thatch roofs:

The traditional Adi homes are built on stilts and feature thatch roofs:

The interior of the Adi homes is open – grass mats arranged around a central fireplace made of stone:

a central fireplace made of stone

TRADITION AND CULTURE

Solung festival of Adi Tribe

Solung festival of Adi Tribe

Introductory Note:

The ‘SOLUNG’ is the main socio-religious festival of ‘Adis’ community and is a manifestation of the ‘adis’ festival cult. the Adi or ‘Bangni-Boker lhoba’people are the major collective tribes living in the himalayan hills of ‘Nyingchi’ prefecture. Since, they belonged to all agricultural community, the ‘Solung’ festival is primarily connected with the agricultural activities of the people. The ‘Solung’ of the Adis can be compared with the three Bihus of the Assamese, as they are also socio-religious in nature, which has a close connection with agriculture. Prevalent among the Adi community are various myths, stories, faiths and beliefs about the origin of the ‘Solung’ festival.
Generally, ‘Solung’ is celebrated in the mid-part of the year i.e. the months of August/Semptember corresponding to the Adi months of ‘Tauno’ and ‘Yio’ respectively. However, ‘Solung’ is celebrated on different days of these months depending upon different villages. But, usually the date is fixed by the “Kebang” or the village council depending upon the convenience of the village people. Sometimes, even the ‘Gam’ (headman) can also fixed the date of this festival with the consent of other leaders of the village. Once the date of the festival is fixed, the villagers starts preparing the ‘rice-beer’ or ‘Apong’. Plenty of fresh vegetables are also stored for the occasion.

The ‘Solung’ festival continues for seven days. On the very first day, the famous ‘Indian Bison’ or ‘Mithun’ along with pigs are slaughtered in the wee hours of the morning. In the village, a family can sacrifice both mithun and pig or pig alone depending upon their financial capability. However, on the sacrificial day, no special dinner is offered but ‘Apong’ is prepared in plenty and made available and the meat of the slaughtered animals are preserved for the rest of the days of the festival.
The second day of the ‘Solung’ is generally known as ‘Yegling’. One-third of the preserved meat is distributed among the relatives on this particular day. However, on this day a grand and special dinner is arranged especially for neighbours, women and children. However, ‘Apong’ is prepared on all the days of the Solung festival. On the fourth day of this festival, one of the inmates of the family goes to the field and sacrifices a fowl especially for ‘Kine Nane’. Moreover, a woman or a girl generally offers ‘Etting’ and ‘Apong’ along with the sacrifice for ‘Kine Nane’. This particular day of the festival is called as ‘Oinnyad’.
On the last and on the seventh day of the Solung festival, men assembles at the village dormitory generally known as ‘Mosup’ to make bows and arrows, which are fastened on the doors of every house in the village. This is done in order to resist the evil spirits from entering the houses. This day is known ‘Ekob’. On the tenth day of the festival, villagers collectively uproots the weak, plants of paddy, which are being spoiled by worm and insects and are thrown on a small platform, especially constructed for the purpose, just beside the main path of the village. This act is done to bring to the notice of ‘Kine Nane’ (the Goddess) that the worms and the insects are destroying their paddy crops with the hope that she will drive away the worms and insects out of the fields. This act or process is known as ‘Irni’.
‘Ponung’ is a kind of dance which is always associated and organised with the Solung festival. In other words, it is also known as ‘Solung-Ponung’. The Ponung dance begins on the first day of the Solung festival. Young girls in the age group of 14 to 18 years takes part in the Ponung dance. These girls are generally known as ‘Ponung Bona’ i.e., Ponung dancers. This particular dance is organised and performed in a place called ‘Yingkiong’. From the social point of view, the ‘Solung’ may be called as the ‘festival of refreshment’.


Solung dance


HISTORICAL MYTH

The story goes like this,One of ‘Doying-Bote’ (god of heaven) came in contact with Kine-nane and become sexually excited. When he was about to copulate with her two monsters Totel-Mone and Dubeng-Mone, intervened and snatched off his testicles to destroy it and in the process scattered the divine sperms over different places from some of which sprouted paddy plants. This was found by Kine-nane. Finding human beings starving for want of food, she sent the paddy seeds through a dog. Since then men have been producing paddy in plenty to meet their requirement of feed. Kine-nane asked the men so helped by her to offer Puja in the name of Solung which they were only too willing to do. Kine-name also helped them to acquire Mithun, and pig, the two animals which are sacrificed at the time of Solung. In the Solung they try to propitiate both Doying-Bote and Kine-nane and if they are pleased and satisfied the former will appear in the form of clouds and rains and latter will appear in the form of great fertility of soil. They land together on the surface of the earth where ultimately their union take place. It is believed that their successful union will lead to high yields of crops, more animals like mithun, pigs etc and ultimately wealth and prosperity for men.

THE RITUALS

Solung celebration continues for five days, first day is called, ‘Solung-Gidi Dogin’ or the day of preparations, second and the main day of the celebration is called Doreph-Long (the day of animal sacrifice), third day is ‘Binnayat Binam’ or worshipping the goddess of plenty and prosperity. Fourth day is Yaktor of Ekoph when the villagers remains busy preparing bows and arrows and other weapons of war. On the fifth day the Miri (religious leader or priest) is given a ceremonial send off when the girl’s sing and dance. During Solung festival, every evening the Miri sings ‘Solung Abung’ and through the song he relates the stories about the origin of man, animals and plants, ancestry of the Adis, lives and deeds of the Adi Heroes. Solung is celebrated in the month of August or September but there is no fixed date for it. Now-a-days in some places, the festival is celebrated with a three day programme. Solung is celebrated to reap a rich harvest after sowing of seeds and transplantation of paddy plants, to raise more mithuns and pigs and also to be free from natural calamities, fire, accidents, diseases etc.

Conclusion:
The ‘Solung’ is celebrated throughout the Siang district and also by the Adis inhabiting the Lohit district. The origin of the ‘Solung’ festival is related with a ‘legend’ i.e., the growth of paddy. The legendry narrates that the plant of the paddy originated from the life juice of ‘Yidum-Bote’ (Son of the God of knowledge) and the paddy plant was reared by ‘Kine-nane’ (the Goddess of the underworld). It was believed that a squirrel in the form of messenger of the human beings went to ‘Kine-Nane’ to ask for paddy.
However, the Goddess agreed to supply paddy to man if he sacrifices mithuns and pigs every year. The legend also says that one day ‘Kine-Nane’ caught the wild pig which was chased by man and it went to the region where ‘Kine-Nane’ had put some paddy in the ears of the wild pig. The pig went back to the earth and that is how, men started to cultivate paddy.

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