SHILLONG: Sikpui Ruoi, post-harvest festival of the Hmâr tribe was observed at EFCI Evangel Mission Centre, Pillangkatta, Meghalaya on Sunday by the Hmâr Welfare Society, Guwahati (HWSG).
Sikpui Ruoi, which means 'year of bountiful harvest', is an annual gala for the Hmâr tribe, usually marked by pomp, splendor, dance, merry making and feasting. However, this year the unique and special event was without the usual fanfare and a rather simple, low-key but symbolic occasion due to the pandemic situation.
The proceedings began with collective singing of an opening song Dâr ang lêngnâ kan tlângram mâwi. James L. Neingaite, assistant secretary, HWSG, delivered the welcome address. After hoisting of organizational flag, HWSG chairman Thanghlun Hmar in his speech said that celebration of Sikpui Ruoi in olden days would extend for days and sometimes even a month to celebrate the year of 'Fapang Ralinsan' (abundant harvest) in which the granary is still filled with the rice harvest of the previous year. The yield distributed to every household is brewed into a drink called zu (fermented rice) and is then collectively consumed during the celebration.
Sikpui Ruoi is an inclusive festival in which people from all walks of life, affluent or less unfortunate, young or old get together in perfect harmony. He recalled that, on November 29, 2018, in recognition of the significance of this festival, the Government of Assam had declared December 5 as restricted holiday. He said that the celebration in contemporary times is no longer akin to those days of old; a positive change which became more pronounced after the advent of Christianity among the Hmârs of Manipur in the year 1910. The occasion celebrated with the usual merry making is now more in tune with Christianity and has done away with the age-old customary community brewing and drinking of zu. He exhorted the gathering to continue observing 'Sikpui Ruoi' as an annual event as it will serve as a constant reminder to the younger Hmâr generation about their identity, deep and rich history, culture, custom and tradition.