Guwahati: A festival of ancestor’s worship, Me-Dam-Me-Phi, is being celebrated all over Assam on Sunday, which government recently announced as a state holiday.
The festival is celebrated by the Ahom community across Assam, on January 31, by offering prayers to the forefathers and ancestors. This community festival is being celebrated for over 400 years, in memory of their dearly departed.
‘Me’ means offering, ‘Dam’ means ancestors and ‘Phi’ means god. Thus, it means that offering of oblations to the dead and sacrifices to God. This is an ancient belief that seeks divinity in the dead.
As a part of their ritual, a special pillar called ‘Damkhuta’ is set up; this serves as the focal point of the offerings. Delicacies such as homemade wine, mah-prasad, and rice with egg, meat and fish are offered.
Celebrating the festival, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal took part in Me-Dam-Me-phi ceremony in Sadiya today, while, Himanta Biswa Sarma attended the auspicious occasion in Sivasagar. Both the minister participated in the festive rituals.
Anciently, the Ahom Kings used to hold prayers on this day in order to honor victory after the war and to obviate any danger from occurring. A public ceremony has taken place in Charaideo, Assam, for over 400 years to witness the Me-Dam-Me-Phi significance.
Charaideo was the first permanent capital of the Ahom Kingdom from the 13th century and was the burial site for the kings of the Ahom dynasty.