Tribe in northeast India prays for good harvest | TribLIVE.com
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Tribe in northeast India prays for good harvest

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AP
In this Monday, June 10, 2019 photo, Indian Rabha tribal Hindu priests walk barefoot over burning charcoal as part of rituals during Baikho festival at Pantan village, west of Gauhati, India. Every year, the community in Indiaճ northeastern state of Assam celebrates the festival, to please a deity of wealth and ask for good rains and a good harvest.
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AP
In this Monday, June 10, 2019 photo, Indian Rabha tribals perform traditional Rabha dance during Baikho festival at Pantan village, west of Gauhati, India. Every year, the community in Indiaճ northeastern state of Assam celebrates the festival, to please a deity of wealth and ask for good rains and a good harvest.
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AP
In this Monday, June 10, 2019, file photo photo, an Indian Rabha tribal Hindu priest dances around burning charcoal as part of rituals during Baikho festival at Pantan village, west of Gauhati, India. Every year, the community in Indiaճ northeastern state of Assam celebrates the festival, to please a deity of wealth and ask for good rains and a good harvest.
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AP
In this Monday, June 10, 2019 photo, Indian Rabha tribal Hindu priests perform rituals on holy trees before burning charcoal during Baikho festival at Pantan village, west of Gauhati, India. Every year, the community in Indiaճ northeastern state of Assam celebrates the festival, to please a deity of wealth and ask for good rains and a good harvest.
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AP
In this Monday, June 10, 2019 photo, Indian Rabha tribal girls adjust their traditional head gear during Baikho festival at Pantan village, west of Gauhati, India. Every year, the community in Indiaճ northeastern state of Assam celebrates the festival, to please a deity of wealth and ask for good rains and a good harvest.
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AP
In this Monday, June 10, 2019 photo, an Indian Rabha tribal Hindu priest performs rituals with lily flower during Baikho festival at Pantan village, west of Gauhati, India. Every year, the community in Indiaճ northeastern state of Assam celebrates the festival, to please a deity of wealth and ask for good rains and a good harvest.
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AP
In this Monday, June 10, 2019 photo, an Indian tribal man practices before performing a cultural dance with traditional drums during Baikho festival at Pantan village, west of Gauhati, India. Every year, the community in Indiaճ northeastern state of Assam celebrates the festival, to please a deity of wealth and ask for good rains and a good harvest.
1294792_web1_gtr-harvestfest13-061419
AP
In this Monday, June 10, 2019 photo, an Indian Rabha tribal Hindu priest performs rituals during Baikho festival at Pantan village, west of Gauhati, India. Every year, the community in Indiaճ northeastern state of Assam celebrates the festival, to please a deity of wealth and ask for good rains and a good harvest.
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AP
In this Monday, June 10, 2019 photo, an Indian Rabha tribal Hindu priest performs rituals during Baikho festival at Pantan village, west of Gauhati, India. Every year, the community in Indiaճ northeastern state of Assam celebrates the festival, to please a deity of wealth and ask for good rains and a good harvest.
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AP
In this Monday, June 10, 2019 photo, an Indian Rabha tribal Hindu priest pours traditional rice beer to a Rabha girl to perform rituals during Baikho festival at Pantan village, west of Gauhati, India. Every year, the community in Indiaճ northeastern state of Assam celebrates the festival, to please a deity of wealth and ask for good rains and a good harvest.
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AP
In this Monday, June 10, 2019 photo, an Indian Rabha tribal Hindu priest makes traditional rice beer during Baikho festival at Pantan village, west of Gauhati, India. Every year, the community in Indiaճ northeastern state of Assam celebrates the festival, to please a deity of wealth and ask for good rains and a good harvest.
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AP
In this Monday, June 10, 2019 photo, Indian Rabha tribal Hindu women participate in tug of war during Baikho festival at Pantan village, west of Gauhati, India. Every year, the community in Indiaճ northeastern state of Assam celebrates the festival, to please a deity of wealth and ask for good rains and a good harvest.
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AP
In this Monday, June 10, 2019 photo, an Indian Rabha tribal Hindu priest performs rituals during Baikho festival at Pantan village, west of Gauhati, India. Every year, the community in Indiaճ northeastern state of Assam celebrates the festival, to please a deity of wealth and ask for good rains and a good harvest.

PANTAN, India (AP) — The Rabha tribal community in India’s northeastern state of Assam celebrates the Baikho festival each year, performing traditional rituals to please a deity of wealth and ask for good rains and a good harvest.

On the first day of the weeklong rituals, people scrub their homes and belongings clean. They clear jungle lands of fallen foliage near the village where the deity is believed to live. After sunset, spiritual leaders visit each household, sing ceremonial songs and sprinkle rice on the rooftops. They are offered rice beer. Then the community gathers near the house of the head priest and sings ritual songs while drinking and dancing.

Worshipping begins the next day. A man from each household and village priests go to designated worship places in the jungles, pray and sacrifice animals. After the ceremonies, men share more cold rice beer.

After all rituals are finished, people dress up for dances and performances. Villagers from neighboring communities gather for the all-night celebrations. People play a traditional game known as rope fighting. Men and women play music, dance and sing songs.

Priests cover their bodies and faces with rice powder. They burn a “mejhi,” a wall of bamboo filled with festive food and plant debris. Fire and the beating of drums create an atmosphere and are believed to protect villages from evil spirits by energizing the air.

The flames and sounds are also seen as the source of adrenaline for holy leaders who run barefoot over hot coals. Afterward, village women wash the priests’ feet and serve them refreshments to honor their bravery.

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