Dree festival is a popular festival in Arunachal Pradesh and it is an important agricultural festival of Apatani tribe. This is the biggest festival celebrated by Apatani and it is marked by sacrificial offerings and prayers. Every year, it is observed on 5th July with great fervour and zest by the Apatanis. The impressive celebration takes place at Ziro in Arunachal Pradesh.
The Dree festival is celebrated every year on the 5th of July and the celebrations begin on 4th of Julyitself. In the festival five Gods are primarily worshipped, Danyi, Metii, Tamu, Mepin and Meder in order to bless them with bounty of harvest. Once the rituals are done, sacrifices are made of fowls,eggs and animals to the Gods. The rituals followed during the festival are indeed very interesting and witnessing them would leave anyone awestruck. The deities are made for worship by the local priests with bamboos. The rituals are performed by a few selected and priests and the rest of the priests known as the Gaon Burhas are only watchers. There is this sacred Ranii Akhii which is brought out in the open by the Apatanis only during this festival. However, the common people are not allowed to touch it since it is considered to bring curses on people who touch it. The ritual starts with the offering of Apong (local rice beer) to the deities and then sacrificing the fowls which are also smeared with apong before the sacrifice. The final sacrifice is of the Mithoon, which is religiously axed and then offered to the deities. The custom of mithoon sacrifice started only in the year 1967 and since then it has been continuing. The very next day a grand feast is held at the Dree grounds and people together cook the meat and enjoy the community feast.
Soon after the feast, the popular Apatani folk dance ‘Daminda’ takes over. It is the ritualistic welcome dance which is performed to mark the beginning and end of Dree festival. Kids and adults alike join in to perform this tradition folk dance and enjoy to the fullest. However, the performance of the dance is not the end of the Dree festival for it continues further with activities such as sports. Even their sports include agricultural tasks for one of the sports was to go to the forest cut tress and then bring it back to the village.
Dree festival is one of the best festivals in Arunachal Pradesh, during this feast, delicious and tangy rice and millet beer are served followed by traditional dances and songs performed by the tribe people. Besides, it can be considered an interesting festival of Arunachal because during this festival cucumber is distributed to the guests and participants, this symbolizes the sacredness of vegetables and perhaps for fruitful agriculture. Throughout the three day festival games and sports are actively partaken and this results as a source of entertainment. You can always be a part of this festival in ArunachalPradesh and see the colour, feasts and rituals of its rich cultural heritage.