The Mishings

Idu Mishmis

Adi

Mishing

Galo

The Mishings, more commonly known as Miri by the plains people, have settled along the southwestern belt bordering Assam. They are distributed in villages of Paglam circle and are akin to Adi group. 

A Mishing dance in progress

Agriculture

Permanent cultivation are generally practiced though shifting method is not fully given up. Crops mainly grown are paddy, maize and mustard with varieties of potatoes and edible green leaves

Fishing

Mishings are expert fishermen. Fishing is a favorite occupation. No period is set apart, yet winter is the best season.

Fish are caught with net; traps, hooking and poisoning the water while turtle are punched with a hard and polished bamboo stick fitted with iron tip.

Costume

Male dresses are very similar with those of the Assamese with as white dhoti as lower garment, a white bush shirt or kurta as the upper garment and a turban on the head. However, they distinguish themselves by using a home cover coat with parallel and stripe design called Mibu Galuk.

Females wear a self-woven lion cloth (Gaseng) as lower garment retaining it on the waist. The upper garment is also a self-woven cloth (Kebbung) waisted round just below the shoulders. Shawls (Ribi Gaseng) are used specially during winter and festive occasions.

Dance and Music

Dances are called Paksong or Soman that bear great resemblance with Assanmese Bihu dances. Songs (Niton) are mainly three types; Aku, Oi and Anu Nitone. The former basically contains history and culture of the people while the other two are love and modern songs with modern musical instruments.

Drum (Dumdum), clapping metal bells (Lupi or Tal) and flute (pepa) are the local instruments while the older ones like Derki tapung, Dumpak and Kekung are hardly used these days.

Festival

Ali-Aye-Ligang is the main festival of the Mishings celebrated during the month of February to harvest a bumper crop. Hunting expeditions are carried out and feasts organized with rice, meat and drinks.

Family and Marriage

Families are nuclear with husband exercising the authority.

Arranged marriages are considered ideal. But a union through elopement is a long process. In case of opposition from either of the party, it runs into lengthy negotiations called Orai through which the union may be finalized.

Unlike their neighboring group of Adis, use of betel nuts and leaves are necessary composition in a marriage negotiation or ceremony along-with meat, fish and drinks. Among the well-to-do families marriage feasts (Midand) are organized.

Religion

Some sections of Mishings have adopted the Hindu religion while the others retains the vague religious notions of their ancestor believing in Donyi-Poloo and also existence of numerous malevolent and benevolent sprite and deities.

Disposal of Dead

Dead bodies are buried with all the required rites. After the burial, the party returns to the family of the deceased and each one purifies himself with the water kept in a vessel on which necessary puja performed.
 

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