• The Wanchuwa festival is one of the most important celebrations in the life of the Tiwa tribe of Assam.
  • It is celebrated once in five or six years. Generally, this festival takes place between June and August. 
  • The ceremony usually starts on a Tuesday and ends on a Thursday
  • The main function takes place on a Wednesday at the residence of Shangdoloi, (the head of the village bachelor’s dormitory where the “sham(wooden mortars) are located.
  • These mortars are partly buried underground and arranged in a circular pattern.
  • While dancing to the rhythm of the khrampangsi and thurang (musical instruments) members of the Shamadi pound the wet rice with a “lomphor” (wooden pestle) till rice is ground to a powder.
  • After the dance, the grounded rice flour is mixed lightly with water and is used to sprinkle on people present at the ceremony.
  • The remaining flour is distributed among the villagers to prepare wanrusa, a type of steamed rice cake. The next morning they bring the wanrusa to the Shangdoloi’s house and offer it to the deities Sodonga Raja and Maldewa Raja.
  • By the late evening of Thursday, the Wanshuwa festival (Wanshúwa Kham) comes to an end.
  • The Tiwa of the Amkha and Marjong group considers the Wankuri or the flour pounded on the day of the Wanshuwa festival to be sacred rice.
Wanshuwa Festival

About Tiwa Tribe

  • Tiwa Tribe is a community that centers itself around a traditional form of agriculture.
  • Also known as Lalung, thie indigenous community is recognized as a Scheduled Tribe (ST) within the state of Assam.
  • The Tiwa community is far removed from the noise and influence of urban chaos.
  • The Tiwas practice Jhum or shifting cultivation.
  • Under this kind of cultivation, the land is first cleared of any vegetation that is later set on fire (slash-and-burn). 
  • The result is a more fertile soil that is freshly enriched with potash, all the more useful for a bountiful crop.
  • States:  Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
  • Festivals: The main festivals of the Tiwa tribes are: Three Pisu (Bihu), Borot utsav, Sogra phuja, Wanchuwa, Jonbeel Mela, Kabla, Langkhon Phuja and Yangli Phuja.

Sub-groups of the tribe:

  • The tribe is majorly divided into following 2 subgroups, which have contrasting cultural features:
Hill Tiwa:
  • They live in the westernmost areas of Karbi Anglong district.
    • Language: Tibeto-Burman language. 
    • Religion: One-half of them follow their traditional religion. It is based on the worship of local deities. The other half has been converted to Christianity since the 1950s.
Plains Tiwa:
  • They live on the flatlands of the Southern bank of the Brahmaputra valley.
    • Language: The vast majority speak Assamese as their mother tongue. Their descent system is patrilineal. 
    • Religion: Their religion shares many elements with Assamese Hinduism but remains specific.

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