This March, get ready to experience the beautiful and colourful festival of Chapchar Kut. Read on to know everything about it…
Chapchar Kut is the annual harvest festival of Mizoram and also one of the most colourful festivals of the state. It is annually celebrated in the month of March. The celebration lasts for a week, and is celebrated by everyone in Mizoram no matter which community, age or gender they belong to. All kinds of disputes and differences between individuals are settled before the festival begins. If you take a look at the past, Chapchar Kut was a time that the bamboo forests were cut in order to provide space for seasonal farming. It is estimated to have started in 1450-1700 A.D.
The word ‘Chapchar’ refers to the drying of bamboo sticks and ‘Kut’ means ‘festival’. Chapchar Kut is named after the bamboo that has been cut and left to dry. It is an agricultural festival celebrated before the planting begins. It is held during the period of relaxation with merriment and enthusiasm. Cheraw or the bamboo dance is a big part of the festival. Different styles of dances are performed amidst the beats of drums during the festival.
Cheraw is an extremely skill-oriented dance, requiring timing, precision and co-ordination. Interestingly, it is performed by the women-folk who dance gracefully barefoot between crossed bamboo sticks that are moved by men holding them at either end, close to the ground and tapping them according to the dance rhythms. Recognized as one of the oldest dance forms of Mizoram, Cheraw is an integral part of almost every festival celebrated in Mizoram. Most often, the various movements made by the Cheraw dancers draw inspiration from nature. While some expressions of Cheraw resemble the swaying trees, some others look like birds flying. Flower shows, concerts, art, handicrafts and cuisines also play a major part of this festival.
The festivities end with the ‘Then Thumna’, where the local singers present traditional numbers, joined by enthusiastic crowd.
Men, women and kids dress up in traditional colourful costumes for the festival which is a Puan, a simple wrap-around skirt with crimson stripes. They are paired with distinguishing head gears and jewelleries. Undoubtedly, Chapchar Kut is one of India’s most colourful festivals that portray its vibrant tradition and culture, living up to its tagline, ‘The Mizo festival of Joy.’ Do visit Mizoram in the month of March to treat your senses!