solung-festival

Solung festival is celebrated for better and rich harvests. Various myths, stories, faiths and beliefs have been told about the origin of the ‘Solung’ festival. It is celebrated in the mid part of the year during the months of July – August that corresponds to the Adi months of ‘Tauno’ and ‘Yio’ respectively. The date of celebration is fixed by the “Kebang” or the village council depending upon the convenience of the village people. Once the date is fixed, the villagers start to prepare the ‘rice-beer’ or ‘Apong’. Plenty of fresh vegetables are also stored.

The Solung festival is celebrated for seven days. On the first day, the famous ‘Indian Bison’ or ‘Mithun’ along with pigs are slaughtered early in the morning. In the village, a family can sacrifice both mithun and pig or pig alone depending upon their financial capability. On the sacrificial day Apong is prepared in plenty and made available and the meats of the slaughtered animals are preserved for the rest of the days of the festival. The second day is known as ‘Yegling’. One-third of the preserved meat is distributed among the relatives on this day. A grand and special dinner is also arranged for neighbours, women and children. On the fourth day, one of the family members goes to the field and sacrifices a fowl especially for ‘Kine Nane’. A woman or a girl generally offers ‘Etting’ and ‘Apong’ along with the sacrifice for ‘Kine Nane’. This day is called ‘Oinnyad’.

On the seventh day, men assemble at the village dormitory to make bows and arrows, which are fastened on the doors of every house in the village. This is done to resist the evil spirits from entering the houses. This day is called ‘Ekob’. On the tenth day, villagers collectively uproot the weak, plants of paddy, which are being spoiled by worm. They are thrown on a small platform which is constructed for the purpose beside the main path of the village. This is done to bring to the notice of ‘Kine Nane’ that the worms and the insects are destroying their paddy crops. They hope that she will drive away the worms and insects out of the fields. This process is known as ‘Irni’.

‘Ponung’ is a dance which is always associated and organised with the Solung festival. It is also known as ‘Solung-Ponung’. Young girls in the age group of 14 to 18 years take part in this dance. These girls are known as ‘Ponung Bona’. This dance is organised and performed in a place called ‘Yingkiong’. The ‘Solung’ is also called the ‘festival of refreshment’.

‘Solung’ is celebrated throughout the Siang district and by the Adis residing in the Lohit district. The origin of this festival is related with a legend. The plant of the paddy originated from the life juice of ‘Yidum-Bote’ or son of the God of knowledge and the paddy plant was reared by ‘Kine-nane’. A squirrel in the form of messenger of the human beings went to ‘Kine-Nane’ to ask for paddy. The Goddess agreed to give paddy to man if he sacrifices mithuns and pigs annually. ‘Kine-Nane’ caught the wild pig which was chased by man and it went to the region where the Goddess had put some paddy in the ears of the wild pig. The pig went back to earth. This is how men started to cultivate paddy.