The Dree Festival

- January 24, 2024

India is full of unique festivals and celebrations, which differ from region to region. One such interesting and important festival is Dree, which is celebrated in the months of June and July in Arunachal Pradesh. This is an agricultural festival, aimed at pleasing the gods and praying for a bountiful harvest.

dree festival
Illustration: Mudita Singh

According to the legend, Anw Donw and Abba Lwbo were the first people to cultivate the land and start a civilisation. They made the first machetes and spades and cleared the area. They travelled to far off places and found seeds for paddy, corn and cucumber.

They overcame the difficulties of storm and rain, and protected their crop against all calamities. However, it was when they were attacked by a fierce demon called Pyokuñ Pembò Pyoyi Tadù that their troubles truly began. They defeated the demon, but from the stomach of their fallen foe, swarms of insects and pests emerged to destroy their precious harvest.

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It is to ward off these insects and other such adversities that the rituals of the Dree festival began. During Dree, people pray for a healthy crop, a plentiful harvest and prosperity to all. The Apatani tribe offer prayers to four gods: Tamu, Harniang, Metii, and Danyi. The festivities usually last for three days. Cucumber plays an important role and is offered to guests and participants of the festival.

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