By Debananda Medak
Guwahati: The Apatanis, one of the major tribal communities of the Northeast’s Arunachal Pradesh state, on Saturday symbolically performed the rituals of the Dree festival, maintaining social distance and other COVID management protocols and prayed for the wellbeing of mankind.
Chairman of the Central Dree Festival Committee, Ziro, Nani Tani said, “This year, the festival was limited to the performance of symbolic rituals by the priests. Mega community feasts, mass marry-making, performances of dances and songs by the youths and elders usually witnessed on a stage, were completely abandoned owing to the spreading coronavirus.”
During the Dree festival, the Apatanis appease the deities – Tamù, Metẁ, Medvr, Mepiñ and Danyi, to ward off epidemics and other ailments of the human beings besides propitiating to ward off the insects and pests so that the agriculture fields remain cleansed and the crops grow healthy.
Tani said, “While performing rituals in connection with the Dree festival, we prayed for the wellbeing of the humankind at this Corona-induced hour of crisis.”
The committee also highlighted that this year, competitions for various folk dance and songs were organised online to virtually engage the community members with festival mood.
In the meantime, Minister of State of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju also greeted the community on the occasion and tweeted, “Today is the wonderful Dree Festival of the Apatanis of Arunachal Pradesh. Due to pandemic, we are unable to come together but we are always united and take pride in our cultural heritage. Let the spirit of Dree Festival bring us together. I wish everyone a joyous Dree Festival!”