Nyetshidow festival

A brief Mythology of Nyetshidow Festival of Hrusso-Aka

Aka tribe of Arunachal Pradesh consists of two clans namely Hrusso-Aka and Koro-Aka. Nyetshidow is annual festival of Hrusso-Aka of West Kameng District and the Koro-Aka of East Kameng District celebrates Sarok as their annual festival. Nyetshidow festival is celebrated every year generally in the month of January after harvest. Earlier this festival was celebrated individually in each and every village but these days community elders decided to celebrate the festival commonly and every year, one month before celebration of festival they select the venue for celebration. The celebration lasts for five days. All outside activities are suspended during those days.

Nyetshidow means cleansing of village. Nyetshi means village and dow means cleansing the village evil spirits and appeasing god by way of offering prayers and celebrating the festival. To celebrate this festival a senior priest is selected by customary means well ahead of the beginning day of the festival. In this festival prayers are offered to Nyezi-No, Theo-Gheo and Huda-Phuda Gods of Hrusso. Nyezi means the Sky (universe) and No means the Earth (soil), Theo-Gheo means the Rearer and the Feeder and Huda-Phuda means Rivers and Mountains.

We, the Hrusso‚Äôs believe these natural forces in this infinite universe and on earth are Gods. We call ourselves Nyezi-e-sa No-e-sa (the children of Nyezi-No). We also believe that in-between Nyezi-No there exist unseen God and Goddess known as Theo-Gheo (the rearer and the feeder) who control and guide entire human destiny. These Gods, - Nyezi-No, Theo-Gheo and Huda-Phuda have the natural powers. When these Gods are appeased in right way, they bless the humanity with happiness, peace and prosperity but when aroused to wrath, inflict punishment in the form of natural calamities which ultimately means misery and disaster. So we believe and worship natural forces to protect us, our children, cattle, crops, fortune, peace, prosperity and well being.

While chanting festival hymns the priest recites the origin of human being and how various forces on earth controls over human destiny. As the natural forces have cast supreme influence over the lives and thoughts of Hrusso, the priest tries to appease these Gods for good harvest and peaceful living by offering sacrifices to avoid catastrophe. Offerings to the Gods are made on the concluding day at a place selected and decorated as per instructions of the priest and also at the site from where village get source of water drinking. Offerings consist of Mithun, pigs and fowls. Traditional dances, games and sports are part of the celebration. All villagers and guests are invited to a community feast after the offerings are over. Several customary taboos are followed after the festival until the priest is called back again to perform ritual ceremonies for withdrawing the taboos.

By Serphow Nimasow