7 Incredible Festivals of North East India That Are Not Hornbill And Ziro!


Add them to your bucket list right now, because these festivals of North East India are an experience of a lifetime!

• Losar Festival

One of the most significant festivals of the Buddhist Community in Tawang, Losar commemorates the advent of the new year. The word Losar is derived from two Tibetan words, ‘lo’ which means ‘year’ and ‘sar’ which means ‘new’. The festival is observed to ward off evil spirits and celebrate the arrival of the New Year.

Tawang Monastery | Credits: Wikimedia

Photo of Arunachal Pradesh, India by Gunjan Upreti

In this fifteen day long festival, the first three days are very important. On the first day of Losar, people clean up their homes and decorate it with 8 auspicious symbols – the precious umbrella, 2 golden fish, a victory banner, a right coiled white conch shell, a lotus flower, the Dharma Wheel, a vase of treasure, and the Eternal Knot, collectively called Tashi Dargy.

The following day is reserved for the King and is called Gyalpo Losar. While the day is spent visiting friends and family and indulging in the traditonal masked dance –Monpa dance– at night, people burn firecrackers to get rid of evil spirits.

The third day of Losar is spent visiting the local monastery and offering prayers, raising flags, donating food and clothes and exchanging gifts.

Losar Festival Month: Losar festival is celebrated on the first day of the lunisolar Tibetan calendar, which corresponds to a date in February or March in the Gregorian calendar.

• Majuli Festival

People who have been a part of Majuli festival often describe it as one of the most pleasing and beautiful festivals of Northeast India. Celebrated at Garamur, on the banks of the river Luit, the Majuli Festival is a four day long festival which highlights the exclusive Neo-Vaishnavite culture of the Majuli region in particular, and of Assam as a whole.

Majuli island | Credits: wikimedia

Photo of Assam, India by Gunjan Upreti

The assemblage of different ethnic groups under the same sky and yet holding onto their respective individuality is a captivating highlight of Majuli Festival. During the festival, a grand exhibition is organised, where traditional items, such as pottery, tribal garment and handicrafts, valuable items made of bamboo and cane are displayed for sale.

Majuli Festival Month: Majuli festival is celebrated in month of November every year.

• Nongkrem Dance Festival

The Nongkrem Dance is celebrated to appease the almighty Goddess, ‘Ka Blei Synshar’, in the hope of receiving a rich harvest and prosperity of the people.

Nohkalikai Falls in Meghalaya | Credits: Wikimedia

Photo of Meghalaya, India by Gunjan Upreti

Nongkrem Dance Festival, a five day harvest festival celebrated by the Khasi tribe, is the most important festival of the Khyrim state and a significant event in the festivals of Northeast India. Nongkrem Dance is a religious dance celebration in Meghalaya, and is fundamentally celebrated with colossal enthusiasm and intensity by the Khasi tribe. In Khasi Hills, the Nongkrem Dance Carnival is called Shad Nongkrem and is celebrated each year at Smit, which is the capital of Khyrem Syiemship, close to Shillong. An imperative practice fundamentally connected to this celebration is the execution of goats, known as Pomblang among the people of Khasi Hill.

Nongkrem Dance Festival Month: This religious festival is celebrated in the month of November.

• Anthurium Festival

This 3 day festival in Mizoram is organised with an intent to promote tourism and showcase the vibrancy of the ethnic festivals of Northeast India. Around 30 kms to the West ,about an hour’s drive from Aizawl sprawls a prominent mountain village, Reiek, where the festival is celebrated.

Tuipui river, Mizoram | Credits: Wikemedia

Photo of Mizoram, India by Gunjan Upreti

Anthurium Festival showcases various cultural and traditional activities such as music, dance, handloom, handicrafts, traditional games, sports. The festival also includes archery, rifle shooting, and angling competitions along with cultural displays of traditional attires. Against the backdrop of the enchanting and mystic Reiek Mountain, the spirit of celebration is guaranteed to rejuvenate your mind, body and soul.

Anthurium Festival Month: September

• Aoling festival

The arrival of spring in the first week of April is celebrated with the Aoling festival by the Konyak Nagas.

Nagaland | Credits: Trivisuals

Photo of Nagaland, India by Gunjan Upreti

Another festival in the many unique festivals of Northeast India, the Aoling festival continues for six days and the first day of the festival is recognised as the Konyak New Year. During the festival, the members of the tribe perform rituals such as animal sacrifices, dances, feasts and cleanliness drives around the village.

Aoling Festival Month: First week of April.

• Kharchi Puja

One of most renowned pujas in Tripura, Kharchi Puja is a sacred procedure of offering reverence to the Mother Earth. The Kharchi Puja continues for seven days and the people of Tripura with utmost dedication offer worship to the Fourteen Deities who are worshipped during Kharchi Puja.

Tripura State Museum | Credits: Wikimedia

Photo of Tripura, India by Gunjan Upreti

Kharchi Puja is held at the temple of fourteen gods at Old Agartala. On the day of puja, the fourteen deities are carried to the river Saidra amidst heavy chanting of mantras. They are then made to have a bath and later, the deities are decorated with various flowers and vermillion.

Kharchi Puja Month: July

• Cheiraoba

Cheiraoba, also called Sajibu Cheiraoba, is the celebration of New Year in Manipur.

Manipur | Credits: Wikimedia

Photo of Manipur, India by Gunjan Upreti

During the festival, special festive dishes are prepared to be offered to the deities. Climbing the Cheiraoching peak is also a part of the festival as climbing signifies elevation to greater heights in their worldly life.

Cheiraoba Festival Month: Cheiraoba Festival takes place in the month of April.

With so many vibrant festivals of Northeast India to look forward to, start planning your year around them!

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