Siaha Miss Chapchar Kut 2019AIZAWL, March 1: The two-day celebration of Chapchar Kut, the most colourful festival of the Mizos, concluded amid pomp and gaiety at the Assam Rifles Ground here today. The biggest festival of the Mizos, celebrated across the State, was one of the traditional ways of Mizo merrymaking that had almost been eliminated by Christianity. Chief Minister Zoramthanga was the ‘Kut Pa’ (father of the festival) on the second day of the festival, which was themed ‘Zofate Impumkhatna’ (Unity of Zo kindred tribes). 

People from all walks of life clad in traditional attire thronged the streets of Aizawl and the festival venue, Lammual, was tastefully decorated as cultural dances, traditional games and music were held on the occasion. ‘Kut Pa’ Zoramthanga greeted the Mizo people across the globe and urged them to unite through the spirit of Chapchar Kut. “Let this festival bring stronger unity among the Zo kindred tribes in India, Myanmar and Bangladesh,” Zoramthanga said.

As part of the celebration, flower, photo and painting, handicraft and handloom, and food exhibitions were organised at the venue. Chapchar Kut has been celebrated in Mizoram for ages. Mizo historians believe that it originated while Mizos settled in Myanmar around 1450 AD. After the advent of Christianity in Mizoram, the conservative Mizo Christians came to consider every Mizo ritual as pagan. 

The new converts and missionaries felt most of the cultural traditions of the heathen Mizos, including the observance of Chapchar Kut and other traditional festivals, which were connected with animistic practices and drinking of Zu (rice beer), were unbecoming of Christianity. The newly converted Christians were, therefore, barred from participating in these festivals. However, with literacy and exposure to the outside world, there was an increasing opinion that cultural heritage could be refined without compromising with the teachings of the Bible.

Around 1930, some nationalistic-minded Mizo Government employees celebrated Chapchar Kut. The Mizo District Council in 1952 passed a Bill for the observance of Chapchar and the public celebration of the festival on a large scale and in an organised manner took place only from 1960 onwards. 

The modern-day Chapchar Kut is a blend of Mizo culture and Christianity. “Now, the Mizo Christians no longer look at our cultural heritage as detrimental to our faith but rather as an enrichment of Christian brotherhood worldwide,” RK Thanga, president of Mizoram Upa Pawl (senior citizens’ association), said. Besides Mizoram, cultural troupes of all the North Eastern States participated in the festival that showcased Mizo dances, songs and music, fashion parades and demonstration of customs and traditions. Delegates from Myanmar, Bangladesh and different States of India, besides domestic and foreign tourists, attended the festival.  ~ Assam Tribune

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