The people of Mizoram have still kept their traditional heritage alive. The conventional customs remain intact till date. An extraordinary tribal flavor accompanies the celebration of fairs and festivals in Mizoram.
Festivals of Mizoram are full of splendid gaiety and are a great insight to the rich cultural heritage of the Mizos. The festivals are celebrated with pomp and fervor and traditional dances form a major part of the celebrations. And, since agriculture plays a significant role in the lives of people, almost all these festivals of Mizoram are centered on agriculture: the sowing, the harvesting, the seasonal cycles etc. The Mizo people celebrate their festivals with great vigour and enthusiasm. Since cultivation is the mainstay of the people of Mizoram hence most of the festivals are celebrated to reflect the fertile bliss of the place. The term ‘Kut’ means festivals. As such the names of all the festivals of Mizoram are followed by this common term ‘Kut’ which means ‘festival’.
Mim Kut Festival of Mizoram is based on the harvesting of maize crop. It is one of the important festivals in Mizoram, which is celebrated in the months of August and September. When the maize crop is ready for harvesting, the people of Mizoram indulge themselves in the festival of Mim Kut. A memorial platform is built during Mim Kut festival where people of Mizoram gather to pay respect to those who died in the preceding year. Apart from maize, vegetables, apparels, accessories and bread are offered to the soul of the deceased during the Mim Kut festival in Mizoram. This is done with the age-old belief that the dead people come to their dwelling places while the festival is celebrated in Mizoram.
The festivals of Mizoram reflect the spirit of the local cultivators who till, sow and reap the benefits of land every year. The festival is an apt symbolization of the deep faith of the inhabitants of Mizoram in the revisit of the deceased souls as well as the enjoyment of the maize harvest.
Pawl Kutis a part of thanksgiving ceremony, which is celebrated in Mizoram when the harvesting activities are completed by the local inhabitants. Followed in the month of December to January, Pawl Kut festival lasts for two days in Mizoram. Feasting with meat and egg is a customary practice followed by each and every household of Mizoram during the festival. The festival involves dancing, singing and merriment by the villagers of Mizoram. The rice beer, which is locally known by the name of Zu, is consumed by all the people of Mizoram to celebrate Pawl Kut festival. Pawl Kut is celebrated by the people in order to offer their gratitude to the almighty. Today, Pawl Kut is counted as one of the main harvest festivals of Mizoram.
Chapchar Kutis named after bamboo that has been cut and is drying. This agricultural festival is celebrated before planting begins. The festival is celebrated in the month of March. Cheraw or the bamboo dance is a big part of the festival. Different styles of dance performances take place amidst beats of drums. Art, handicrafts, concerts, flower shows, and cuisines also play a major part of this festival. Towards the end of February, the Mizos prepare the land for fresh planting. After the planting, a few days of relaxation are followed before the serious business of sowing. The Chapchar Kut festival is celebrated during this relaxation period with merriment and enthusiasm. Other tourist attractions like flower show, food festival, music competition and different traditional games are also organized during the festival.
Thalfavang Kutis observed in Mizoram every year, to promote tourism and preserving the cultural heritage of the people. The Thalfavang Kut festival is celebrated in November. The festival is celebrated before harvest to celebrate the completion of farming while waiting for the tough task of harvesting. The festival is celebrated by the farmers as cultivation is the major livelihood of this state. The festival is being organized in rural areas to give tourists the opportunity to know-how and take pleasure in rural life.
The celebration includes displaying of cultural dances, music, flower show, exhibit and sale of local handloom and handicrafts, demonstration and sale of local Agriculture / Horticulture product and by-product. The festival is extremely popular and widely celebrated festival in Mizoram. The vivacious clothes add to the festive mood. The festival includes dancing and singing of local songs, which are sung by the farmers while they dance.The festival also significantly allows the tribal groups of Mizoram to represent the natural cultural trend of their community. The Thalfavang Kut festival is exceptionally successful in depicting the cultural heritage of Mizoram.
One of the major festivals of the Paite community, Khuado Kutis celebrated as a thanksgiving festival when all the harvesting work is done. This festival is held during full moon nights which are regarded auspicious for this event. The term Khuado is a combination of two terms – khua and do. Khuado can be summed up as an event or an occasion in which the villagers fight back the evil spirit and engage themselves in a sort of spirituality. This was done to predict the well being of the village and also wish to have a good harvest for the next season. The festival marks organizing of a mega feast where the whole village, young and old alike share an extravagant meal till the last day of the festival.
Mizoram is a land rich in culture and heritage. The festivals here too are as interesting as the culture of the state. One should visit Mizoram during the festive seasons to witness the state come alive with new hopes and enthusiasm evolving out a spontaneous community spirit and participation.