Kolkata

Wanshuwa (Wanshuwa Kham) Festival of The Tiwas community

Wanshuwa is a folk festival of the indigenous Tiwa community of Assam and Meghalaya. They primarily dwell in the two hamlets of Marjong and Amkha in Karbi Anglong District of Assam.

Alternative Name

This festival is also known as Wanshuwa Kham.

Duration

This important socio-religious event is organised after every five years.

Primarily, Wanshuwa commences on a Tuesday and concludes on a Thursday. This festival is organised between June and August.

The Festival

The function of Wanshuwa is performed in the Shangdoloi’s (village bachelor dormitory chief) residence. It is scheduled on Wednesday.

Wanshuwa: The Rituals

The Wanshuwa function follows an elaborate ritual.

Venue

The socio-agricultural rites are performed in the official house of the Shangdoloi – the chief of the boys’ dormitory (meant for only the bachelors) in each village.

Procedures

  • First, the wooden mortars (sham) are prepared.
  • Next, these are buried partially on the ground.
  • Then, the Shangdoloi’s members start pounding the wet rice using the mortar.
  • The pestle made of wood is called ‘lomphor’.
  • The process continues till the were rice is grounded. During this time, they also dance to the rhythmic tunes of the Tiwa musical instruments – khram, thurang and pangsi.
  • Once they complete the Wanshuwa dance, the rice flour sprinkling ceremony starts.

Festival of The Tiwas

Process

When the dance is completed, they mix the flour (prepared after the wet rice is grounded) with a small amount of water.

A portion if the rice flour is mixed with water. Then, the sacred concoction (wankuri) is sprinkled on the gathering.

The remaining portion of the flour is distributed among villagers who prepare steamed rice cake – wanrusa – during the night.

Rice Flour (Wankuri) Sprinkling Ceremony

The following morning they bring the wanrusas to the Shangdoloi’s house. These rice pan cakes are offered to their deities – Maldewa Raja and Sodonga Raja.

The Wanshuwa festival of the Tiwas conclude by late Tuesday evening.



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