Dances of Tripura
The life and culture of Tripuris revolve around Jhum(shifting) cultivation. When the sowing of seeds at a plot of land selected for Jhum is over by middle of April, they pray to the God 'Garia' for a happy harvest. The celebrations attached to the Garia Puja continue for seven days when they seek to entertain their beloved deity with song and dance.
Lebang Boomani Dance
After the Garia festival is over, the Tripuris have a time to rest awaiting the monsoon. During this period, folks of charming colorful insects called 'Lebang' use to visit hill slopes in search of seeds sewn on it. The annual visit of the insects renders the tribal youths to indulge in merry-making. While the men-folk make a peculiar rhythmic sound with the help of two bamboo chips in their hand, the women folk run tottering the hill slopes to catch hold of these insects called 'Lebang'. The rhythm of the sound made by the bamboo chips attracts the insects from their hiding places and the women in-groups catch them. With the change of time jhuming on hill slopes are gradually diminishing. But the cultural life that developed centering round the jhum delved deep into the society. It still exists in the state's hills and dales as a reminiscence of the life, which the tribal of today cherish in memory, and preserve as treasure. In both the dances Tripuris use the musical instruments like Khamb made of Bamboo, Flute, Sarinda, Lebang made of bamboo and bamboo cymbal. Tripuri women generally put on indigenous ornaments like chain made of silver with coin, Bangle made of silver, ear and nose rings made of bronze. They prefer flower as ornaments.
While the theme of the dance remains almost to be the same as of other tribes, the dance form of the Reang community is quite different from others. The movement of hands or even the upper part of the body is somewhat restricted, whereas the movement beginning from their waist down to their feet creates a wonderful wave. Standing on an earthen pitcher with a bottle on the head and a lighted lamp on it, when the Reang belle dance twisting rhythmically the lower part of the body, the dance bewilders the onlookers. The Reangs also use the musical Instruments like Khamb, Flute made of bamboo and bamboo cymbal. The Reang women prefer to put on black Pachra and Rea. Reang women put on coins ring, which generally covers their entire upper region. They also put on rings made of coin in their ears. They are fond of fragrant flowers as ornaments to metal things.
This popular form of dance is characteristic of the Chakma community. Bizu means 'Chaitra-Sankranti'. 'Chaitra-Sankranti' denotes end of Bengali calendar year. It is during this period when the Chakmas sing and dance to bid good-bye to the year just being ended and welcome the new year. The dance is beautifully orchestrated with the rhythm playing of what is known as 'Khenggarang' and 'Dhukuk' sorts of flutes. The Chakma women are fond of flower, which they often use in their hair. They also use metal ornaments.
Like other tribal community of this State the social and economic life of the Halam community also revolve around jhum cultivation. At the end of the harvesting season the Malsum traditionally adore Goddess Laxmi. They enjoy this festive occasion for their famous Hai-Hak dance. It is also a community dance with exquisite beauty. Rhythms of the dance reflect the tradition inherited from distant past.
After the happy harvest 'Wangala'(1-st rice eating ceremony) is performed in every houses. The Sangnakma, head of the communities visits every house and cuts a pumpkin as a part of worship. This pumpkin is sacrificed on this occasion. After that the women dance to the beat of 'Dama' and 'Aaduri' made of buffalo horn. The dance projects the rehearsal for war.
The Lusai girls are well dressed. They generally wear their colorful cloth. They performed welcome dance whenever any visitor pay visits to their house. This is very colorful dance where young girls of the entire community take part. Their dress is so colorful that the ornaments are not very much required except fragrant flowers.
The Darlong reposes faith in after life. They believe that man is destined to go to Haven after death. Incidentally, they think that if a pregnant woman dies, she feels it very difficult, with all her physical strains, to track the long journey to Heaven. Hence at the last stage of her pregnancy - in fact just at the time or immediately prior to delivery all her relatives perform this 'Cheraw' dance in-group throughout day and night so as to instill confidence in the mind of that woman. They are firm in their belief that even if the woman dies at this juncture. It will be possible for her to go Heaven with the courage and confidence together with joy gained through the sound of bamboo as the rhythm of the dance produced till her death.
The people of Mog community observe austerity from the full moon of Bengali month of Ashad down to the full moon Bengali month of Ashwin. Generally no auspicious occasion of Ashad down to the full moon of Bengali month of Ashwin. Generally no auspicious occasion like marriage is celebrated during the period. Even the married women do not go to their parents' house during this time. 'Way' festival is celebrated on the day of full moon of the Bengali month of Ashwin. Lamps dedicated to the Lord Buddha are launched on this day. The young boys and girls stand in rows with lamps in hand to worship the Lord Buddha. The youngsters indulge in merriment through songs and dances in the premises of Buddha temple. The traditional dance of the Mog community is known as 'Way Dance' or 'Lamp Dance'.
Crafts of Tripura
Cane and Bamboo Work
Tripura is famous for its cane and bamboo handicrafts. The cane and bamoo handicrafts of Tripura include table mats, floor mats, room dividers, decorated wall panels, attractive furniture of cane and various gift items. Interior decoration products made out of Cane and Bamboo include ceilings, paneling, plaques, Pot containers (Planters) etc. Cane furniture of Tripura is very famous and exported to many countries. Elegant baskets are knitted out of thin strips of cane and bamboo. Other rare craft items of Tripura include small-framed mirrors, hair clips, powder cases, decorative trays etc.
The Tripura mudah is a low stool made of bamboo and split cane. Bamboo is used in the body and rim structure; while split-cane is used in binding all elements and in the seat weave. The body of the mudah has a structure suitable for the use of relatively thin members to support the huge loads. This is achieved with the help of a large number of thin members supporting each other. Elaborate binding detail gives the mudah strength of construction and decorative weaves are used in the seat and the rim covering. Very intricate and exquisite bamboo and cane ornaments are also produced in Tripura. This type of ornaments are not available elsewhere in the world.
Handloom is the oldest industry in Tripura. The people of Tripura look to weaving inseparable part of life and passed on from generation to generation. The tribal people of the state produce their own clothes with elegant designs nd lasting texture using unique color combinations. Risa and Riha are two traditional handloom items of the state that are used during rituals. In Tripura, for a tribal girl to be considered for marriage, the it was a pre-requisite is a good knowledge of the craft of weaving. Otherwise she should not be considered as a bride. Both commercial and non-commercial looms operate in the State. Non-commercial looms are operated by the tribal inhabitants of the state. They weave fabrics for their own consumption whereas the commercial looms are controlled by the Bengalis as well as Manipuri weavers.
Basketry is an important craft of Tripure. The different types of baskets produced in the state include jamatia firewood basket, riang carrying basket, tukri, karawala tukri, laii, sempa khari, date basket, turi, grain storage basket, dulla and sudha - the traditional fish trap.
Pathla Rain Shield
The pathla from Tripura is a rain shield. The top cone has a base of 230 mm with a height of 110 mm, and the circular shade that is angled slightly downwards, has a diameter of 550 mm. A pentagon made up of five elements, each of which has three strips of bamboo, encircles the apex of the cone. The subsequent hexagons on the cone are also made with three strips to each element. Five wide interlocking strips of bamboo strengthen the apex of the cone. These strips are held in place by introducing them into the weave on the cone.
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