Dree Festival

There is no dearth of festivals in Arunachal Pradesh. Dree is one of the joyous festivals in the north eastern state concentrating only on the agriculture. It is a much vaunted event by the Apatani tribe of Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh celebrated with zest marked by sacrificial offerings and prayers.

The main Dree Festival takes place at Ziro where prayers are offered to appease the four gods, mainly, the Tamu, Harniang, Metii, and Danyi to bring in a bountiful harvest season. Fowls, eggs, and animals are sacrificed during this festival as part of the rituals. The divinities associated with Dree are collectively observe as 'Dree or Dri Wuhi' Gods.

One or two persons are appointed permanently or temporarily from each clan of the village. These persons are known as Dree” Kholi” or Dree” Gora”. They collect small quantity of rice or millet from each individual in order to meet the expenditure of the ceremony. The collected rice is kept by these persons. When the time of festival approaches, they prepare rice beer and collect the sacrificial animals, fowls, chicken and eggs for sacrifices.

After completion of these preparation they inform the peoples about the date of performance so that they could store the required food grains and fire woods etc, for the taboo period observed after the festival.

On the festive occasion of Dree, every individual prepares rice beer and women present a vessel of rice beer to their elderly bothers, sisters, son-in-law etc, as a symbol of love and affections. They reciprocate by presenting a piece of bacon or roasted meat of Mithun-cow to them. On the same day, the woman and children are involved in rejoicing and merry making singing traditional songs called “Damingda” which is associated with Dree festival.

This song basically welcomes man and god on this occasion, describing the greatness of Apatanis of the past and present, sketches the geographical location 'Khallo “Sanii' of the Apatanis and their neighbouring tribes, and recalls beautiful memories of love affairs of man and woman exemplifying their ancestors Loder-Byai and Umi-Ubyang etc.