CHAPCHAR KUT

At the end of February, when winter starts receding, the Mizos prepare the land for fresh planting. There are few days of relaxation before the serious business of sowing starts and that is when the Chapchar Kut festival is celebrated with gaiety and fervour.

A spring festival, this is the most important festival and the only one regularly observed during the first week of March in Mizoram. On this day people of all ages, young and old, men and women dressed in their colorful costumes and distinctive head gears and jewelries, assemble and perform various folk dances, singing traditional songs accompanied by beating of drums, gongs and cymbals. They dance in joyous celebration of life, each team displaying the best of its region. These are generally group dances with a lot of bonhomie and courting woven into them. Some dances are strictly martial danced by strong virile warriors with their weapons and trophies. One dance perennially popular is the Cheraw or the "bamboo dance" so called as long bamboo staves are used for this dance. This is the most colourful and distinctive dance of the Mizos requiring skill and an alert mind to perform. The other main dances performed during Chapchar Kut are Khuallam, Chheihlam, Chai and Sarlamkai. "Khual lam" is an auspicious dance performed by a group of dancers celebrating new beginnings. It is also a welcome dance for guests during community festivities.

To attain a position of distinction, a Mizo had to go through a series of ceremonies and perform many feats of heroic deeds. These ceremonies are always accompanied by a feast and to this feast, friends from nearby villages are invited - hence, Khuallam is the dance for the visitors or guests. The "Chheih lam" is another community dance performed by both men and women. The war dance "Solakia", a prerogative of the male population of the community, is accompanied by rhythmic beating of the drums Exhibition and sale of indigenous Handloom and Handicraft products and other tourist attractions like flower show, food festival, musical competition and different traditional games are also organized during the Chapchar Kut festival

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