Chavang Kut to be celebrated in Delhi on November 2

Published on October 22, 2013

By Luntinsat Kipgen

As the autumn season sets in, the Thadou-Kuki community residents of Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR) are gearing up for the celebration of the autumn festival called “Chavang Kut” on November 2, 2013 at the central secretariat sports complex ground, Vinay Marg, New Delhi.

The event which is scheduled to start at 10 am and would last till 5 pm is divided into two sessions. While all the outdoor games and sports competitions will be organized in the first session, speeches, cultural dance, singings, talent shows, etc. will be hosted in the second session. Kut feast will be served in between the two sessions at 1 pm. Preparations are on in full swing by the cultural troupes, the Kut band and leading artists from the community.

At the sideline, a display-cum-sales shop will also be open for various items of traditional handicrafts and shawls. Compiled booklets of selected folklore written in Thadou-Kuki dialect will also be available free of cost for the children.

The community celebrates a number of ‘Kut’, which means festival, with the suffixed ‘Mim, Chavang, Pol’, etc. according to the type for which it is celebrated. ‘Chavang’ which means autumn is the season of harvesting of crops for the jhum cultivating tribes of the Kukis in Northeast India. The term Chavang Kut therefore means “harvesting festival.”

In the past, to earn livelihood, our forefathers had to toil hard in the sun or rain –  clearing the thick jungle by felling trees and burning them up when dried, preparing the soil with spades, sowing the seeds and nurturing the crops by weeding out the unwanted plants, reaping the harvest, and finally, carrying the grains physically from the thresholds in the fields traversing along the long distance, winding and narrow footpaths through rugged hills to the barn or storehouse in their homes.

The commonly grown crops included staple foods such as rice, maize and millets, and cash crops such as castor, mustard, sunflower and others. They also grow vegetable crops such as brinjal (eggplant), pumpkins, peas, varieties of beans, root crops, etc. When most of the cultivated crops have been harvested, the community led by the village priest performs, on a particular day during this season, the customary thanks giving rites to God for the bountiful blessing they received. On this day, they played certain sports competition like shot-put, suhtum khaw i.e. throwing the rice ponder, sielkal i.e. jumping over a standing mithun, wrestling, tug-of-war, etc.

Harvesting of all the crops, however, is not completed in autumn. Yet, it is this Chavang, every one eagerly waits to welcome with smiles because it is the only season of the year during which the storehouse of every household gets filled that people not only happily forget their sufferings and sweats but also feel more lively and beautiful.

In Delhi & NCR, our community is composed of public or private sector employees and students, and not the hard toiling cultivators. However, the season which just switches over from the unbearable summer makes it more festive. Like any other festivals seen in different communities around the world, the celebration of Chavang Kut, as a tradition, fosters the spirit of love and bond among the community members.

While enjoying festival, howsoever the celebration is, it is important that one is not carried away from the original spirit of the festival, which as our valued culture and tradition, must be upheld, preserved and passed it on to the new generation, especially, who are born and brought up in Delhi & NCR and have never had first-hand experience of the original Chavang Kut in our hometowns.

As has been stated above, the spirit of love and joy in the harvesting festival ever remains relevant to all walks of life and the Chavang Kut committee, therefore, earnestly appeals to all the adult members of the community – young and old – to responsibly involve and participate in whatever capacity they can to promote, uphold, preserve and propagate the values of our identity – tradition, custom and culture.

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