Kids at the celebration venue dancing on Adi traditional beats Credit: Picture courtesy : Sanjay Mosing

Celebrated in the first week of September, ‘SOLUNG’ is a popular festival of the Adi Tribe of Arunachal Pradesh.

It is a harvest festival performed after sowing of seeds and transplantation, to seek for future bumper crops. Ponung songs and dances are performed by womenfolk during the festival.

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Solung celebration continues for five days, the first day is called, ‘Solung-Gidi Dogin’ or the day of preparations, the second and the main day of the celebration is called Doreph-Long (the day of animal sacrifice), the third day is ‘Binnayat Binam’ or worshipping the goddess of plenty and prosperity. The fourth day is Yaktor of Ekoph when the villagers remain busy preparing bows and arrows and other weapons of war. On the fifth day, the Miri (religious leader or priest) is given a ceremonial send-off when the girls sing and dance.

During Solung festival, every evening the Miri sings ‘Solung Abung’, and through the song, he relates the stories about the origin of man, animals, and plants, the ancestry of the Adis, lives, and deeds of the Adi Heroes. Solung is celebrated in the month of August or September but there is no fixed date for it.

Tug of war at the celebration ground
Tug of war at the celebration ground

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Nowadays in some places, the festival is celebrated with a three-day program. Solung is celebrated to reap a rich harvest after sowing of seeds and transplantation of paddy plants, to raise more mithuns and pigs, and also to be free from natural calamities, fire, accidents, diseases, etc.

According to mythology, one of ‘Doying-Bote’ (god of heaven) came in contact with Kine-nane and become sexually excited. When he was about to copulate with her two monsters Totel-Mone and Dubeng-Mone, intervened and snatched off his testicles to destroy it and in the process scattered the divine sperms over different places from some of which sprouted paddy plants.

Ponung dance (women) of Adi Tribe
Celebrating the festival with some local delicacies and rice beer

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This was found by Kine-nane. Finding human beings starving for want of food, she sent the paddy seeds through a dog. Since then men have been producing paddy in plenty to meet their requirement of feed. Kine-nane asked the men so helped by her to offer Puja in the name of Solung which they were only too willing to do. Kine-name also helped them to acquire Mithun, and pig, the two animals which are sacrificed at the time of Solung.

In the Solung they try to propitiate both Doying-Bote and Kine-nane and if they are pleased and satisfied the former will appear in the form of clouds and rains and the latter will appear in the form of great fertility of the soil. They land together on the surface of the earth where ultimately their union takes place. It is believed that their successful union will lead to high yields of crops, more animals like mithun, pigs, etc and ultimately wealth and prosperity for men.

Kids at the celebration venue dancing on Adi traditional beats

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