Religious festivals occupy a special place in the culture and tradition of India. The state of Mizoram upholds the festive spirit by celebrating Mim Kut Festival with enormous zeal and devotion. The festival is predominantly solemnized by a local tribe called Kuki. Just as the harvest season ends, Mim Kut starts with great enthusiasm and glory.
The Historical Beliefs
The word Mim is a local word, implying the maize crop. Maize is the staple food of Mizoram and the festival is celebrated after the harvest season is over. It is believed that there were two brothers named Chin and Kuki, who were orphaned by their mother at a very young age. The story talks about the love between the two brothers how they supported each other for survival. It also says Chin used to feed Kuki with maize when his brother was hungry. Henceforth, in Mizoram, people celebrate the Mim Kut festival as a mark of respect to the two brothers.
The key feature of the festival is to offer tribute to the departed souls of ancestors. The people of Mizoram pay their homage by dedicating a part of their maize harvest along with jewellery, dresses, bread and rice wine. It’s a popular belief that during the festival the departed souls return to their residences to their near and dear ones. Hence its customary to greet them respectfully.
People of all generations adorn themselves in new and colourful attire and join in the celebrations. The festival is renowned among the tourists as well. They prefer visiting Mizoram during the festival days to engage in the grandeur and charm of the celebrations.
Activities performed during the festival
Mim Kut festival spans for 2 to 3 days amid a plethora of activities and enjoyment. Almost every household prepare rice wine and consume as part of the rituals. Local delectable dishes are prepared and served to the guests.
Various events, games and folk song and dance performances are held at different areas within the state. It is a delightful experience to watch the local folk dance in tune with the traditional rhythmic music and song. The local instruments like drums and longhorns are used to create a musical and melodious atmosphere.
Contests, games and talent shows are held encouraging both the locals and the tourists to tune into the joyful celebrations of the festival. Sport competitions are held for men and women. Fairs are organized at various places, filled with shops selling local and handicraft items as well as food stalls selling local speciality dishes.
The second day of the festival is specially commemorated by preparing food made out of bread and consumed with family and friends. Guests are served delicious dishes made out of bread.
A Grand Celebration
The Kuki tribe consider the Mim Kut festival as the celebration of their successful maize harvest. They thank their ancestors for showering blessings on them. It’s a time for a reunion of family and friends, engaging in a grand celebration. The entire state of Mizoram zooms with energy and liveliness. Music, dance, fairs and shows performed by the local artists entice the visitors with zest and eagerness.
The restaurants, food stalls and street-side shops are flocked by people in large quantities, savouring their favourite dishes and beverages. All households are decorated with lights, chimes, trinkets and flowers to lighten up the mood and feel of the festival. People are lifted to high spirits immersing into the cheerful mood of the festivities. They participate in the events, and sports relishing the festival days with fun and frolic.
When considering to visit the state of Mizoram, you can plan during the months of August and September. The Mim Kut festival is held at this time of the year. Along with visiting the natural beauty of Mizoram, you can immerse into the joyous celebration of the festival. The festival will acquaint you with the customary traditions of the locals, their dresses, food habits and the local folk music. You can enjoy mingling with the culture and heritage of the people dwelling in the state.
Experiential travelling helps in promoting the embedded Indian tribal culture to different areas of India and abroad. Therefore it’s our responsibility as Indians to fuse into such traditional festivals and proclaim their unique characteristics as much as possible.