Mim Kut is a religious Festival held in Mizoram. It is a vibrant and colorful fiesta that is celebrated with tremendous zeal and enthusiasm. It expresses joy and triumphant over the harvest of Mim (Maize), which is the last harvest crop for the season.
The festival celebrates the harvest of maize in particular. The Kuki-Chin individuals hold article of faith that the souls of their deceased ancestors rise from their graves and visit their family homes. The individuals supply tribute to the dead souls in variety of wine that’s naturally prepped from rice at each home. Other offerings include fresh vegetables, maize, bread made from maize and handmade symbolic jewelry.
The dead souls also are worshiped by the villagers. The Mim Kut competition like most festivals of Nagas includes, tradition singing, dancing, playing musical instruments and proud display of culture.
The Mim Kut competition celebrates the annual harvest of the maize crop.The origin of the competition has its ties connected to the Kuki-Chin story of “Mim”. The original story explores the love and bond of two brothers when they were abandoned by their mother. Lendou and his younger brother shared a piece of Mim when their stomachs were wrought with hunger. It was Mim that got them through these misfortunes, brought them closer and taught them love.
Mim is that the last harvest of the year within the Kuki-Chin society.The individuals summons their deceased ancestors and pays their respects on at the moment. They offer tokens of maize, jewelry, clothing, bread and rice wine. Half of the harvest is devoted and offered to the dead souls. It is customary to do so but not really mandatory. The souls of ancestors that have passed away are presumed to return to their homes during this festival. The competition has received wide recognition from the state and touristy department.
The preparations for the celebration begin beforehand with people making great efforts to clean their homes for welcoming the departed souls. It is also common for people to decorate their homes for this special occasion and even placing the favorite things of their ancestors within their homes as a mark of respect towards them. Preset rituals and traditions are followed while paying tribute to the ancestors.
On the first day of the Mim Kut festival, the rituals of making offerings to the souls of the departed ancestors are carried out. This is done by placing all the offerings on the memorials of the dead ancestors. Overall, the first day of the festival is totally devoted to appeasing the souls of dead ancestors.
The second day of the festival is considered to be the day of celebration. On this day, meals are mostly prepared from bread and people get together to have a hearty lunch consisting mostly of dishes made from bread. There is lot of fun and merriment on the second day of Mim Kut as people enjoy themselves by drinking rice-beer and feasting. In addition there are several song and dance performances along the traditional lines which further add color and fervor to the festivities.
Mim Kut is usually celebrated during August after the hard labor of Jhum, amidst extensive fanfare and merrymaking.