Indigenous Folklore

Apatani tribesmen of Arunachal Pradesh

Apatani Nyibu wears a small, split piece of bamboo in his hear, which he later display in his house as a memento of his past glory. Photo by Olga Rani

The Apatani is an ethnic tribal group living in the Ziro valley, Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh. Since time immemorial, the Apatani have had a democratic system of running the society. The village council is known as the Bulyang.

The first contact with the Europeans occurred in 1897, when British officials came to stay in the valley for two days; six similar brief visits were later held between the 1920s and 1930s. In 1944, after a temporary government outpost was set up by an anthropologist-administrator, the Apatani came in contact with minimal government presence for the first time.

Most Apatanis are loyal followers of the Donyi-Polo faith, who pray to the Sun (Ayo Donyi) and the Moon (Atoh Polo).  Dree Festival, celebrated in July, is the main agricultural festival of the Apatanis.

All the Photos here taken in 2009 by Olga Rani.

An Apatani Woman of Arunachal Pradesh.Tattooing (Tiipe) and the stuffing of large nose plugs (yaping hullo) were once popular among the women in the olden time. This practice is believed to have started because the women wanted to look unattractive to males from neighboring tribes. Apatani women were considered to be the most beautiful ones among all the Arunachal tribes. Photo by Olga Rani.

An Apatani woman of Arunachal Pradesh. Tattooing (Tiipe) and the stuffing of large nose plugs (Yaping Hullo) were once popular among the women in the olden time. This practice is believed to have started because the women wanted to look unattractive to males from neighboring tribes. Apatani women were considered to be the most beautiful ones among all the Arunachal tribes. Photo by Olga Rani.

 

Chanting on the lapang, the Apatani Nyibu (Donyi-Polo ritual leader) holds several pieces of thin bamboo in a bundle during an animal sacrifice ritual. Photo by Olga Rani

Chanting on the lapang, the Apatani Nyibu (Donyi-Polo ritual leader) holds several pieces of thin bamboo in a bundle during an animal sacrifice ritual. Photo by Olga Rani.

 

A lady preparing the indigenous rice beer in Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh. Photo by Olga Rani.

A lady preparing the indigenous rice beer in Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh. Photo by Olga Rani.

 

Young Apatani Lady, the portrait of the first generation  without nose plug

Young Apatani Lady – the portrait of the first generation without nose plug (Yaping Hullo). Photo by Olga Rani.

 

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