Apatani wedding ceremony

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"Apatanis putting eggs in the baskets of apatani women which is a part of the ritual. Apatani people celebrating with each other.

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.

Next, the women -- young and old, are each given a bottle of whiskey, curiously tied with a string and worn around the neck as a pendant, so as to not to have to worry about it when taking part in the community dance that follows! Next comes the big afternoon feast, the first in a series of feasts that take place over several days.

This footage is part of the professionally-shot stock footage archive of Wilderness Films India Ltd., the largest collection of imagery from South Asia. The Wilderness Films India collection comprises of thousands of hours of high quality broadcast imagery, mostly shot on HDCAM 1080i High Definition, HDV and Digital Betacam. Write to us for licensing this footage on a broadcast format, for use in your production! We pride ourselves in bringing the best of India and South Asia to the world... wfi @ vsnl.com and admin@wildfilmsindia.com."

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