Solung Etor celebrated with pomp & show

|Maksam TAYENG|

PASIGHAT, May 15: Solung Etor, one of major festivals of the Adi community, is being celebrated with great pomp & show starting Wednesday in all the Adi-inhabited villages and towns across Siang, Dibang and Lohit valleys of central and eastern Arunachal Pradesh and also in other far off locations.

The Solung Etor festival (‘Etor’ means ‘fencing’ in Adi), celebrated on 15th of May, is related to community fencing of the agricultural lands. In olden days, Mithuns were kept under large area in the jungle surrounded by fencing for protection of the crops. This festival is celebrated to begin the annual agricultural cycle of the community. The community comes together to either repair or put up new fence to protect their agricultural fields for the season. All cattle are to be taken outside the fence.

In this festival of Etor, people worship the deities for the good health of their domestic animals and prosperity of the village. The festival consists of a huge feast and offerings are made to the Gods. Traditional songs and dances are performed in the festival. The traditional dance ‘Delong’ (an Adi male dance form) is performed by the men, especially youths in a Dere/Musup (community hall). Gampu, community feast, is also organized in the Dere wherein only males and young children can participate.

The celebration started early today morning by sacrifice of animals like pigs and Mithun and rituals of Solung Etor being performed. “The festival will last for few more days and will end after conduct of a traditional ritual called “Mopun” in the last.

The festival has series of serials and occasion like ‘Dogin/Tanyum yume, Dorep/Ardo-Bado longe (today), Gampu longe, Kemey longe, Lungak/Eso-Eyek agam with traditional offerings to the God ‘Dadi Bote’ associated with Agung Agam kepel and then lastly the Mopun, said Kaling Borang, one of senior Adi members, who also heads the Adi Agom Kebang (literary unit) of the Adi Baane Kebang.

Meanwhile, NPP leader Mongol Yomso attended the Etor festival celebration at Bilat village in East Siang district as chief guest. Witnessing the cultural items from village girls during the daylong programme, Yomso appealed the villagers, especially the youths to preserve their rich traditions and culture for posterity.