Festivals of Northeast

1st of November – End of Feb – Winter

Kati Bihu – Late October/Early November – Multiple venues

Kati Bihu is the austere of the three Bihus. People light earthen lamps in courtyards and fields, praying for a good harvest in the upcoming months.

Raas Festival (Raax Mahotsav) – Late November – Majuli and Golpara district

The Raas Mahotsav is dedicated to the worship of Lord Krishna while immersing in the tales of his childhood exploits and adventures. It is a time of showcasing Majuli’s performative heritage through plays, ‘bhaonas’ (traditional form of drama), puppetry, and recitations along with weaving and craft traditions.

Silk n Dye Festival – Mid December – Kaziranga

The Silk n Dye Festival is organised by Janambhumi Janakalyan in association with YCSD and Earth Craft. It aims to promote natural dyeing and traditional silk rearing of the state by providing silk weavers a platform to showcase their products.

Under the Sal Tree theatre festival – Mid December – Rampur village, Goalpara district

This unique theatre festival is a coming together of experimental and creative theatre troupes from across the country and abroad. It was started by late Sukracharya Rabha, the theatre doyen, in 2008.

Magh Bihu – Mid January – Multiple venues

Magh Bihu is the harvest festival of Assam where people feast together with newly harvested rice. It is a community festival incomplete without traditional sweetmeats made of coconut, jaggery and sesame seeds called ‘pitha’ and ‘laru’.

Dehing Patkai Festival – Mid January (coincides with Magh Bihu) – Dehing, Tinsukia district

This cultural festival organised by the Government of Assam hosts numerous cultural events, folk performances and traditional sports on the Brahmaputra riverbanks. It also showcases the indigenous diversity of the state through food and craft fairs.

Brahmaputra Beach Festival – Mid January (coincides with Magh Bihu) – Guwahati

Organised by the Assam Boat Racing and Rowing Association, the Brahmaputra Beach Festival is an open-air festival held on the banks of the Brahmaputra. It is a platform to celebrate the indigenous culture of the state through traditional sports, cultural events and performances.

1st March – End May – Pre Monsoon – Spring

Bwisagu/Baisagu – Mid April – Bodo villages near Bongaigaon

Bwisagu is the springtime festival of the Bodo tribe of Assam heralding the new year. There is much merrymaking as the people sway to the colourful Bagurumba dance.

Bohag Bihu – Mid April – Multiple venues

The springtime festival of Bohag Bihu, also called Rongali Bihu, is marked by the spirited Bihu dance and cultural events across the state. It also marks the onset of the Assamese New Year.

1 June – End of August – Monsoon – Summer

Ambubachi Mela – Mid June – Guwahati

The Ambubachi Mela takes place in the famous Kamakhya Temple. Once a year the goddess is said to menstruate and is given a ritual bath after three days. The festival attacts tourists, devotees and pilgrims from all over the country.

1 Sept – End of October – Autumn

Karam Puja – Late August/Early September – Sonitpur district

Karam Puja or Karma is an agricultural festival of the tea communities of Assam. They worship the earth goddess for a bountiful harvest and perform the rhythmic jhumur dance.

1st of November – End of Feb – Winter

Loinloom Festival – Early December – Diezephe, Dimapur district

A two-day global event, the Loinloom Festival that was started to platform indigenous weaving tradition and protecting them with intellectual property rights laws. The other craft forms showcased here are cane and bamboo, pottery, wood-carving, and metal works, along with the region’s vibrant beaded ornaments.

Hornbill Festival – Early December – Naga Heritage Village, Kisama

The Hornbill Festival, organised by the State Tourism and Art & Culture departments, showcases the cultural and tribal diversity of the state. It is often referred to as the ‘Festival of Festivals’.

Lui-Ngai-Ni Festival – Mid February – Multiple venues

Lui-Ngai-Ni is a lesser known agricultural festival of the Naga people that takes place in the sowing season. The people sing and dance and worship for generous rainfall in the upcoming months.

1st March – End May – Pre Monsoon – Spring

Aoling Festival – Early April – Mon district

Aoling, celebrated by the Konyak tribe of Nagaland, sets of the start of the new year. It is a time of great rejoicing having finished the sowing of seeds.

Moatsu Mong – Early May – Mokokchung district

Celebrated by the Ao tribe of Nagaland, Moastsu Mong takes place at the onset of summer after the completion of seed-sowing. There is much singing and dancing.

 

1st of November – End of Feb – Winter

Wangala 100 Drums Festival – Early November – Asanang, near Tura

A post-harvest festival of the Garo community, Wangala is about showing gratitude to the sun god, Misi Saljong, for blessing them with a good harvest. The men and women, dressed in stunning attires, dance to the beating of a hundred drums – hence the name ‘100 Drums Festival’.

Nongkrem Festival – Early November – Smit (Khasi Hills)

Nongkrem is a post-harvest festival of the Khasi tribe who offer gratitude to the goddess, Ka Blei Synshar, for a good harvest. The celebration involves folk dances by men and women, and sacrificial rituals for the appeasement of ancestors.

Cherry Blossom Festival – Mid November – Shillong

This is an international cultural festival that hosts music gigs, beauty pageant, food stalls, art and crafts stalls and much more. All in the presence of the delightful and ethereal cherry blossom trees that fill the air with fragrance.

NH7 Weekender – Late November – Shillong

A multi-city music and comedy festival of India, the NH7 Weekender is immensely popular amongst youngters who throng it in large numbers. Shillong is one of the favourite spots for this event that gives a platform to independent performers.

1st of November – End of Feb – Winter

Orange Festival – Mid December – Dambuk

The Orange Festival hosts adventure sports, music and dance in the remote and pristine Dambuk. Famed for the local orange cultivation, the festival is a way of promoting and bringing attention to the place and its culture.

Torgya Festival – Early January – Tawang

Also known as Tawang-Torgya, it is a monastic festival celebrated by the Monpa community in the Tawang monastery. Torgya is part of the Losar festival and takes place in the western parts of the state.

Losar Festival – Late February/Early March – Tawang

Losar, the New Year Festival, is celebrated with great pomp and joy by the Monpas. The people pray for good health and wealth, light butter lamps in their homes and hoist religious flags. Losar is also a time of feasting and drinking.

1st March – End May – Pre Monsoon – Spring

Myoko Festival – Late March – Ziro

Myoko is a seed-sowing festival of the Apatani tribe during which the community shaman performs chants and fertily-based rituals to ensure good harvest. It is also a time of reiterating the friendship and community bond of the Apatani villages.

Mopin Festival – Early April – Itanagar

An agricultural festival, Mopin is celebrated by the Galo tribe who worship the goddess Mopin Ane. The festival comprises of ritual ceremonies to pray for good harvest, health and well-being of the community.

1 June – End of August – Monsoon – Summer

Dree Festival – Early July – Ziro

Celebrated by the Apatani tribe, Dree is an agricultural festival composed of folk songs, dances and prayers to the elemental gods, Pyodu Au and Dree Yarw. Animals are sacrificed to appease them and seek protection.

1 Sept – End of October – Autumn

Ziro Festival of Music – Late September – Ziro

The Ziro Festival, started in 2012, is a platform for independent musicians and talents from all across the country. It is one of the most eco-friendly – and popular – festivals existing today.

 

1st of November – End of Feb – Winter

Losoong Festival – Mid December – Multiple venues

Also known as Namsoong, this harvest festival marks the beginning of the Sikkimese New Year. It is observed by the Bhutia tribe and is full of folk dances, feasting and religious ceremonies.

Sonam Lhosar Festival – Late January/Early February – Multiple venues

Celebrated by the Tamang community of Sikkim, it marks the beginning of the Tibetan New Year. Lamas perform to the beat of the traditional damphu, a small rounded drum, wearing masks and colourful attires to ward off evil spirits.

1st March – End May – Pre Monsoon – Spring

Hee Bermiok Festival – Early May – Hee Bermiok

This tourism fiesta celebrates the state’s cultural diversity and local lifestyles. An interesting highlight of the festival is the display of different rice varieties grown in the state; it is an excellent time to indulge in the local cuisine.

1 June – End of August – Monsoon – Summer

Saga Dawa Festival – Late June/Early July – Multiple venues

Saga Dawa marks the birthday of Lord Buddha and is an special occasion for Mahayana Buddhists. Prayers take place across all monasteries and monks take out colourful processions throughout Sikkim.

1 Sept – End of October – Autumn

Pang Lhabsol – Late August/Early September – Gangtok, Ravangla, North Sikkim and more

The Pang Lhabsol Festival pays obeisance to Mount Kanchenjunga, the guardian deity of Sikkim. It is marked by folk performances and warrior dances by the Lamas.

Dasain – Late September/early October – Multiple venues

Dasain, celebrated by the Hindu Nepalese community of Sikkim, is the equivalent of Dussehra and Bijaya Dasami. On the tenth day, the elders of the family bless the younger ones and the idols of the goddess are immersed in water.

 

1st of November – End of Feb – Winter

Sangai Festival – Late November – Multiple venues

This festival, organised by the Manipur Tourism Department, is meant to showcase the rich and diverse traditions of the state. Named after the sangai deer, it was started in 2010 and happens to be the grandest festival of Manipur today.

1st March – End May – Pre Monsoon – Spring

Lai Haraoba – Mid/End May – Multiple venues

Lai Haraoba (meaning ‘merrymaking of the gods’) is the most important festival of the Meiteis during which they worship Sanamahi, the creator of the world. Traditional performances take place in the course of the celebration that play out these beautiful creation stories.

1 June – End of August – Monsoon – Summer

Kang Chingba – Late June/Early July – Multiple venues

Kang Chingba follows the Rath Yatra of Jagannath Mandir, Puri (Odhisha). A chariot containing the idols of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra is taken out in procession.

1 Sept – End of October – Autumn

Heikru Hidongba – Mid September – Imphal

This boat-race festival takes place at the moat of the Sagolband Bijoy Govinda Leikai, Imphal. Men race in narrow, elongated boats which are ceremonially decorated with flower and rice garlands.

 

1st March – End May – Pre Monsoon – Spring

Chapchar Kut – Early March – Multiple venues

This state-wide festival celebrates the end of the long jhum season through song and dance. The very popular Cheraw or Bamboo dance is performed by a group of women who dance between crossed bamboo sticks while the men rhythmically move them, close to the ground.

1 Sept – End of October – Autumn

Anthurium Festival – Late October/Early November – Reiek Village

This festival, organised by the State Tourism Department and Horticulture Department, hosts dances and other performances. The main highlight, though, is the stunning anthurium in bloom that attracts a number of tourists.

1st March – End May – Pre Monsoon – Spring

Garia Puja – Mid April – Multiple venues

Garia Puja is an indigenous festival celebrated during the spring season. Lord Garia, a tribal deity, is represented with a bampoo pole and worshipped with various offerings like rice, fowl, flowers, garlands, eggs and rice beer.

1 June – End of August – Monsoon – Summer

Kharchi Puja – Late July/Early August – Multiple venues

Kharchi Puja is observed by the Hindu community wherein the people worship the fourteen gods who form the dynastic pantheon of the Tripuri people. It resembles the Ambubachi Puja of Kamakhya Temple, Assam.

Ker Puja – Late August – Multiple venues

Ker Puja, another indigenous festival, takes place two weeks after Kharchi Puja. It begins with the worship of fourteen different deities and culminates with the worship of Ker, the guardian deity of Tripura’s dynasty of deities (Vastu Devata).

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