The culture of Mizoram reflects the quintessential lifestyle and traditional heritage of the inhabitants of the Mizoram, popularly known as the 'Songbird of the North east'. The people of Mizoram are collectively known as the Mizo. Etymologically, the term Mizo can be bifurcated into 'Mi' meaning people and 'Zo' that signifies the hill. Thus the very nomenclature of the tribal community illustrates the fact that they hail from the highland.
It is rather interesting to note the indelible impact of Christianity on the state's culture. The advent of the 19th century Christian missionaries considerably enriched the state's culture. Not only was a new and formal writing script was developed, the strong impact of Christianity have resulted in the Mizo inhabitants emerging some of the finest choir singers in the Indian subcontinent.
The patriarchal Mizo society strictly follows "Tlawmngaina", a code of ethics that emphasizes on every individual to be kind, generous and hospitable to his peers, irrespective of caste and creed.
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People of Mizoram primarily include several tribal communities that have inhabited the hilly terrains for several decades. Popularly known by the name of Mizos, the people of Mizoram are deft in various handicrafts work. According to the historic records, Tibetan, Burmese and Chinese people had a great influence on the lifestyle and behavior of core groups of Mizoram.
The major tribes that are found in the land of Mizoram are Dulien, Ralte, Poi, Jahao, Pankhup, Lakher, Paite, Falam, Tangur, Khuangli, Dalang, Sukte, Fanai, Leillul and Mar. All of these tribes are known to exist in Mizoram ever since this hilly landscape came into existence. Apart from main tribal groups Mizoram people are divided into different sub-tribes too. Some of the sub-tribes of Mizoram include Lakhers, Pawis and Lushais.
Festivals in Mizoram
Festivals in Mizoram mostly centers around the harvest seasons. However, several other general festivals are also celebrated by the people of Mizoram with great enthusiasm and vigor. Since cultivation is the mainstay of the people of Mizoram hence most of the festivals are celebrated to reflect the fertile bliss of the place. The term Kut means festivals. As such the names of all the festivals of Mizoram are followed by this common term of Kut.
Mim Kut festival of Mizoram is based on the harvesting of maize crop. This festival is also followed to pay respect to the dead. The Pawl Kut festival is followed by the people of Mizoram for two whole days. During the months of December and January the festival of Pawl Kut is celebrated in Mizoram.
Chapchar Kut is another significant festival of Mizoram which is celebrated at a time when trees and bamboos are kept for drying so that these can be burned for jhum cultivation. It is believed that Chapchar Kut existed in the land of Mizoram from the era of 1450 to 1600.
Dances of Mizoram
Dances of Mizoram reflect the cultural vibrancy of the place. Deriving inspiration from the natural beauty of the hilly terrains, the dances of Mizoram are synonymous to the multi-cultural aura of Mizoram. The Khuallam dance of Mizoram dates back to the pre-Christian times. Known as the dance of the guests, Khuallam dance is performed by the males of Mizoram by wearing a traditional costume called Puandum.
Cheraw dance is performed by both males and females of Mizoram. Use of the bamboo staves is the unique trait of the dance of Cheraw in Mizoram. Sarlamkai, also known as Solakia, is an ancient dance form of Mizoram. It is believed that in the past warriors use to indulge in the Sarlamkai dance. Today, both men and women enthusiastically participate in the dance of Solakia.
The Chailam dance of Mizoram constitutes four different variations namely Chai Lamthai 1, Chai Lamthai 2, Chai Lamthai 3 and Chai Lamthai 4. This dance is performed especially during the festival of Chapchar Kut in Mizoram.
Music of Mizoram
The origin of music of Mizoram is a mystery story. Therefore, it is very difficult to chronologically arrange the sequences of the heritage of Mizoram Music. However, developments of some couplets can be traced between 1300 and 1400 AD during the establishment of Thantlang in Burma. B. Lalthangliana has stated that some of the folk songs that evolved during this period were Hla do (Chants of hunting); Dar Hla (songs on gong); Nauawih Hla (Cradle songs) and Bawh Hla (War chants). More songs were developed between late 15th and 17th Century AD.
A number of musical instruments accompany the folk songs of Mizoram. These musical instruments can be broadly classified into three categories: String instruments, Beating or Striking instruments and Wind instruments. Some of the String instruments are Tingtang, Lemlawi and Tuiumdar. Talhkhuang, Khuang and Dar, Bengbung, Seki are few Beating or Striking instruments. The popular Wind instruments are Hnahtum, Mautawtawrawl, Rawchhem, Tumphit, Phenglawng and Buhchangkuang.
Mizoram ethnicity comprises of a variety of social elements like the different tribal groups, religions, rituals and festivals. The people of this region have kept alive their age-old socio-cultural lineage. Their colorful and bright clothes and traditional customs are still in use at this hilly part of India.
The state of Mizoram has a number of ethnic groups, which constitute the basic structure of Mizoram society. The names of the major ethnic groups of the state are Pawis, Lushais, Raltes, Paithes, Himars, Pangs and Kukis.
One of the fascinating aspects of Mizoram ethnicity is their ethical code. The focus of the ethical code of the Mizos is the tlawmngaihna. This local term implies that each person who belongs to this place is cordial, helpful, soft-hearted and sociable.
Religion in Mizoram
The main religion in Mizoram is Christianity. The religion of Christianity plays in shaping the socio-cultural life of the people of the state.
The people of this state are strong followers of Christianity. The majority of the population is Protestants. One of the significant aspects associated with the Christian religious group of Mizoram is the Mizoram churches. The Christians often make huge donations to these churches.
The popularity of the Christian religion at Mizoram can be understood from the statistical fact that about 83.81 % of the total population of the state in the year 1981 was Christian by faith.
The people who follow the Christian religion in Mizoram take part in a number of religious festivals like New Year's Day, Christmas and Easter. Singing carols and greeting other people by visiting their homes are significant parts of the Christmas celebration.
Food in Mizoram
Food in Mizoram is one of the main attractions for the tourists who plan to visit this Indian state on a vacation. The Mizoram cuisine offers mainly non-vegetarian delicacies. The people who belong to this place do eat vegetables, but they prefer to add some non-vegetarian ingredients to each and every dish they prepare.
One of the main specialties of the food of Mizoram is that it is very different from the food available in other parts of the country of India other than the north-east. However, the food in Mizoram is quite similar to the food in the other north-eastern states of India. The cuisine of the north-eastern states of the country including Mizoram has an identity of its own.
Art and Crafts in Miizoram
There are various kinds of art and crafts in Miizoram, which form an important sector of the industrial market of the state. The main art and crafts of Mizoram are textiles, bamboo and cane works and basketry.
The bamboo and cane works constitute one of the well known art and crafts in Mizoram. The state is quite advanced in this craft and has a big role to play in the economic growth of the state. It is the domain of the Mizo men. The major bamboo and cane works of the state are hats, animal and fish trapscones, different types of baskets, japis, wide range of jewelry and circular boxes.
The basketry industry is a prominent segment of Mizoram art and crafts. Some of the popular products of the basketry industry of Mizoram are paiem, dawrawn, paikawng, tlamen, emsin, fawng-te-laivel, fawng and thul. The people of the state of Mizoram exhibit a great deal of expertise in all the above art and crafts of the region.
Last Updated on 6 March 2013