Leicester: For the third consecutive year, members of the close-knit Mising community and their friends from the country got together to celebrate Ali-Aye-Ligang at East Leake near Leicester, UK, recently.
Ali-Aye-Ligang is the traditional spring of the indigenous Mising community of Assam and is associated with agriculture, especially with the beginning of the Ahu paddy cultivation. The festival marks the onset of sowing of seeds.
The hosts for the evening, Dr Jharna Kumbang Miri, Bashab Miri and their children Lorna and Liam, left no stone unturned to make it an evening to remember.
While Lorna anchored the event, Manjira Goswami, president of the Assam Sahitya Sabba, UK chapter, gave the welcome address. While highlighting the significance of Ali-Aye-Ligang to the audience, Goswami thanked the Miri family for bringing people together to celebrate the traditional festival of the Mising community.
Goswami’s address was followed by a traditional ‘Gumrag Soman’, in which every guest danced to the tune of folk songs and melodious ‘Oi Nitom’.
There was also a special performance by tabla ustad Rishi Chowdhury, a modern Mising dance by Pangkhi Medhi, an impromptu Mising ‘Oi Nitom’ by Juri Pegu Schmidt-Soltau and a Mising Kristhi and ‘Oi Nitom Sonam’ by Jharna Kumbang. The festivities were rounded up with a fashion show and a group dance.
Another highlight of the evening was the ‘Lilen’, the grand community feast. Guests were treated to an array of tradtional delicacies prepared by the hosts.
Ali-Aye-Ligang is made up of three words, ‘Ali’, meaning legumes; ‘Aye’ meaning seeds and ‘Ligang’, which means to sow. The festival begins on ‘Ligang longe’, the first Wednesday of ‘Gimur Polo’, which occurs in February in the Gregorian calendar or on the first Wednesday of the month of ‘Fagun’ in the Assamese calendar and in February of the English calendar. The festival lasts for five days.