Guwahati: Ali Aye Ligang, the spring festival of the Mising community of Assam, is being celebrated all over the state on Wednesday.
Held on the first Wednesday of the Assamese month of ‘Fagun,’ the festival marks the onset of seed sowing, especially the beginning of the ‘Ahu’ paddy cultivation.
Earlier, it was celebrated on different days depending on the season. To ensure uniformity, the first Wednesday of ‘Fagun’ month was done. The festival starts with the ‘Juri’ ritual through which the community calls upon the ancestors for a good harvest.
The festival is marked by organising a grand community feast with various traditional dishes, especially made with pork, ‘purang apin’ (boiled rice wrapped in special leaves, also called ‘tupula bhaat’ in Assamese) and ‘poro apong’ or ‘nogin apong’ (types of home-made rice beer unique to the community).
Young and old alike also participate in ‘Gumrag Soman’ and dance to the tune of folk songs called ‘oi nitom’.
Women belonging to the tribe performed their traditional dance wearing beautiful, hand-woven and colourful Mising ‘ege gasor’ during the festival. Cultural programmes were also held as a part of the festivities.
The name Ali Aye Ligang is made up of three words – Ali, meaning legumes; Aye, meaning seed; and Ligang, meaning to sow.