PEOPLE, CULTURE AND FESTIVALS:
Idu-Mishmi tribe is the lone inhabitant tribe of Dibang Valley district. They are of mongoloid race and have distinctive dialect of Tibeto-Burma language. Idu-Mishmi tribe can be distinctively identified among other tribal groups of Arunachal Pradesh by their typical hairstyle, distinctive customs and artistic pattern embedded on their clothes. This tribe still maintains deep rooted aesthetic values in their day to day life with great pride and honour.
Traditionally, Idu-Mishmis believe in animism. They worship Maselo-Zinu and Nani Intaya as creators of mankind and universe as a whole. Idu priest (Shaman) locally known as Igu holds a place of pride in the society. Mythological characters like Sineru, the first Idu Priest still holds high place and reverence in the minds of the people. The prints of his palm on the huge rock at Athu-Popu near Keyala Pass in Dibang Valley districts in China border, is supreme and holy shrine.
Idu- Mishmi men and women are highly artistic and have aesthetic sense. Men folk in the Idu-Mishmi society are well momentous in making beautiful basketry items of bamboo and cane and women in particular are very good weavers. Their great aesthetic sense is well reflected in the delicate design created on the clothes produced on handlooms.
Idu-Mishmi practice both terrace and wet rice cultivation. Rice, Maize and Millet are the staple food of this tribe. Sweet Potato and different kinds of Arum and vegetables are the usual crops. The home brewed rice beer is quite popular.
Reh and Ke-Meh-Ha are the two important festivals of Idu-Mishmi Community. Reh is celebrated on 1st and 2nd February every year. Celebration of Reh starts with the chanting and dancing by Priest in which god and goddess Maselo-Zinu and Nani Intaya are prayed and given thanks for her blessing of everything given to the mankind.
Earlier Reh was performed only by individuals in order to know his relatives, prosperity, peace and well-being of the family. But in late 1960s under the leadership of late Mr. Ita Pulu, the whole Idu-Mishmi community was mobilised to celebrate Reh under one umbrella to bring the sense of brotherhood, oneness and peace among the society. Since then, the whole community celebrates Reh commonly with traditional fervor and gaiety.
Ke-Meh-Ha is another important festival of Idu-Mishmi. Ke-Meh-Ha means ingestion of new harvested rice. This ritual also used to be performed at individual level to appease the goddess of prosperity. It is celebrated on 24th September every year. This festival is celebrated after the harvesting if rice and celebrated with traditional pomp and gaiety.