Essay on “Mioko” Festival
The Mioko festival of the Apatanis of Arunachal Pradesh is dedicated to prayer. The Apatanis go over the hills and into the jungles to find the right omens. The Apatanis are followed by Nyibu (priest) chanting rhythmically. Most of the chants were recited to ward off bad spirits and to pray to the good spirits.
As soon as Apatanis get rid of the red monkey, the villagers start singing and dancing. Old people of the village are served with the meat of monkeys. Hunters are welcomed as heroes. During the festival nobody is expected to work. It is time for merry-making and relaxation. The festival stretches over one month. One of the major activities is to share. Groups hunt together and gift the head of the animal they have hunted to the neighbouring tribe which helps them if they are in trouble.
The festival falls at the beginning of the cultivation season. A particular family of the village flag off the festival. In the evening of the first-day prayer starts and it continues as long as the Mioko is celebrated.