"Apatani are tribal people who live in Arunachal Pradesh .Tattooing (Tiipe) and the stuffing of large nose plugs (yaping hullo) are popular among the women, although this practice has gradually fallen into decline in recent years. This practice is believed to have started because the women wanted to look unattractive to males from neighboring tribes. Apatani women were considered to be the most beautiful among all other Arunachal tribes. Apatani women are cooking food on a fire.
Apatani women wind their way through the farms and fields of the Lower Subansiri District of Arunachal Pradesh. Carrying baskets full of rice, with the bride's basket topped with bamboo shoots and a pair of eggs, they find their way to the house of the groom to whom their village relative is getting married. All this is part of a fertility ritual that dates back to ancient times... While the bride's mother brings up the rear, the bride herself leads the marchers.
Nestled in India's northeast lies the little known state of Arunachal Pradesh. Tribal communities with primarily Buddhist and animist faiths, myriad dialects and unique cultural practices make Arunachal Pradesh a fascinating and little known part of India. Such spiritual rituals occur during many phases of a typical Apatani wedding ceremony and celebration.
On reaching the groom's house, the rice is off-loaded into the family granary at the edge of the village, by the groom's relatives. The rice has not been de-husked and remains farm-fresh. Meanwhile, as the village women leave, they are given a token of appreciation for their hard work, by the groom's family members. Each is given Twenty Indian Rupees in the form of crisp Ten Rupee notes! As they are exhausted after a long early morning trek from the neighbouring village, on the way out they are also given a series of snacks. First comes a cup of tea and then a packet of boiled mithun meat. The mithun is a variety of Arunachali cow. Next comes a strip of seasoned dried pork -- often many years old, as is the tradition in the village of Ziro, followed by a boiled egg in the shell.
Next, the granary is sealed, but not before some more ceremonies are carried out.
The bride brings in rice powder and holy water which are the essential ingredients for the wedding ceremony. The village elder who oversees the wedding ceremony brings in some chickens which are then sacrificed as part of the wedding rituals. In all, some 70 to 80 chickens are sacrificed at different homes and locations of the groom's family. Next, the blood of the chickens is sprinkled in the doorways of the granary followed by the principal household where the young couple will stay, as this is said to bring good luck to the families living inside.
The priests and elders within a village generally carry out such chicken sacrifices, but anyone is welcome to participate.
Even as the village elder who carried out the chicken ceremony carries the sacrificed chickens to the couple's new home, the bride distributes holy water and rice powder to the houses of all her neighbours in the village.
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