THE DREE FESTIVAL is an agricultural festival celebrated by the Apatani tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. Every year, it is observed on 5th July with great fervour and zest by the Apatanis. The impressive celebration takes place at Ziro in Arunachal Pradesh.
The Apatanis, who inhabit a tranquil pine clad valley called at the core of Lower Subansiri District of Arunachal Pradesh, are famous for their unique practice of wet rice cultivation. They are also known for their sustainable agricultural practices and the agricultural cycles govern their everyday lives. The agricultural festival of Dree is the highlight in this cycle.
The pre-celebrations begin from the evening of 4th July. During the Dree Festival, 4 major Gods – Tamu, Harniang, Metii and Danyi are remembered and thanked for bringing in prosperity.
This festival includes a number of grand rituals and traditions. The 4 main deities are offered fowls, eggs and animals on this day. Also, traditional songs and dances are performed by the Apatani women.
Dree Festival signifies happiness, wealth and prosperity. On this auspicious occasion, rice beer and wine are prepared in every household. Every individual visit their relatives’ place and women of the family usually gift a vessel of beer to their elderly, brothers, sisters, son-in-law, etc. as a token of love.
On the day of the Dree Festival, the women and children sing traditional songs called ‘Damingda’. The festival songs are sung to welcome God. It describes the great legacy of Apatanis. It also consists of the songs underlining the love sagas of their ancestors.
India is full of such unique local festivals and Arunachal Pradesh’s Dree Festival is surely one of the most joyous ones!
While the modes of celebration have changed with time, the original rituals started by the ancestors in IIpyó Supuñ are meticulously followed until this day and the objective of the festival remains the same – for a healthy crop, a bumper harvest and overall prosperity of mankind