Arunachal’s Reh festival begins on a colourful note

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Roing, February 3: Arunachal began with it’s Reh Festival on a colorful note on Sunday. The forty-eighth Reh festival celebrated by Mishmi community of Arunachal Pradesh began on Sunday with much fanfare.
The three day celebration was announced open with the hoisting of Reh flag by Tanga Byaling, Minister (Home) in presence of Gum Tayeng, Parliamentary Secretary (WRD).

In his address to the Reh gathering, the Byaling spoke highly of the Mishmi skills in designing colourful textile designs and handicrafts.
Speaking on the importance of the festivals, he said "Festival gives colour to one's tradition and culture. It remains as long as we keep our culture intact. The festival is our Identity Card and we must protect our identity and culture.
He advised the people of Lower Dibang Valley to uphold communal harmony in the district. "Why is it necessary for people to fight in the name of tribe? Why can't we have intermarriage to foster harmony?
We have to choose the path of development," he said.
Parliamentary Secretary, Tayeng in her speech said that different tribes in the state may celebrate different festivals, but the spirit of the celebrations remains the same. "We all are bonded by this commonality, and we must nurture it to see that it brings in us peace and unity amongst all tribe of Arunachal."
She advised the younger generation to preserve the old age traditions and customs. "I request the young people not to drink too much, and be aware of the harmful habits. It is they who must be the guardian of our culture.
This year Reh celebration witnessed record number of legislators visiting as guests. The Home Minister was accompanied by Zingu Namchoom, Chairman, Bamboo Mission, Wanglam Sawin, Chairman, Forest Corporation, Tirong Aboh, Chairman, DOTC, Tsering Tashi, MLA Tawang, Laisam Simai, MLA Nampong, Tesam Pongte, MLA Changlang North and Paknga Bage, MLA Dumporijo. Dr Hatobin Mai of Spice Board of India announced that a Spice Board Office will be opening soon in Roing, district headquarters of Lower Dibang Valley. He hoped that with the opening of such office it will help the local farmers much needed support and expertise of the board.

The Reh Festival:
Reh is one of the most important festivals of the Idus. The Idus believe that they are the sons and daughters of the divine mother 'Nanyi Inyitaya'. But none can get her blessings and keep alive bond of brotherhood and social feeling strong, unless one performs the puja or celebrate the Reh festival.
But it is so expensive that only a few people can afford to celebrate the festival for propitiation of the supreme creator, the great mother 'Nanyi Inyitaya'.
The festival is celebrated during February-August. The people who inhabit snow fall areas viz. Talo, Amru, and Dri villages of the Dibang valley celebrate it during summer and monsoon i.e. during June-August, when the climate is moderate and shoal of fishes are available in streams and rivers. The Idus in the other parts celebrate the same during February to May.
The festival requires a number of sacrificial buffaloes for offering to the great mother 'Nanyi Inyitaya'. Presents such as money in cash and pigs are given to the relatives

Earlier, guests were accorded a traditional welcome with the crowd cheering 'Meyebo', meaning 'guests have arrived'. They were escorted by a traditional dance troupe towards the podium where the Reh flag waited to be hoisted.
The unfurling of Reh flag was followed by the Reh flag song - 'Aatudri adu-ci reh machi ashahla', which was composed by late Ahuki Pulu and Ingori Linggi, news agency The Arunchal Times reported.
It was followed by the traditional 'Keyeli (sowing of paddy) dance led by an Igu (priest). Local sportsmen displayed bow and arrow shooting followed by a display of traditional sports. The guests also attended an Igu dance performed by a female priest in the Rehko (the house where Reh is conducted).
Late Ita Pulu, regarded as the founder of 'Kebambo Reh (Community Reh)' was honoured with the garlanding of his statue in the Ita Pulu Cultural Hall by Byaling.
In his welcome address, Enju Linggi, President, Central Reh Celebration Committee (CRCC) 2015 said Reh festival in its original practise is hosted by an individual. But to bring unity and fraternity in the community, late Ita Pulu initiated the community Reh in 1968.
According to the mythology, Reh ritual was first performed by a slave named Apiju to appease the almighty to free him of an illness. Preparation of Reh requires several months, and the celebration is held for five days, according to the narration of Reh mythology.
This year, 15 delegates from Singa, Upper Siang are participating in the central Reh. They displayed a Khamba dance that speaks lots about the cultural interchanges that have taken place in Singa where the two tribes - Mishmi and Khamba inhabit. It was informed that in Singa, both the tribe celebrates Losar and Reh jointly exhibiting cultural unity.

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