Dima Hasao District
The Tribes of Dima Hasao District
The Hmars migrated from
China and settled first in Burma and scattered around Manipur, Mizoram and
Dima Hasao in Assam. They are of Mongoloid stock. Though the tribe is
divided into exogamous clans but they do not strictly adhere to exogamy.
Monogamy is strictly followed. Arranged cum Love-Marriages are
The system of bride price is still prevelant &
the youngest daughter usually gets an extra price called 'Nuzum'. Earlier
they practiced animism & their God was “Pathien” & sacrifices were
offered for his appeasement. Now almost the whole of the tribe is
converted into Christianity & they have built churches in their villages
& religious rites are performed according to the tenets of Christianity.The
Hmars built their villages on hill -tops & houses are constructed on wooden
planks. Slash & burn system of agricultural practices is still at large
amongst the Hmars.
long years of migration from their original abode, the Hmars still adhere to
their traditional culture through observing their traditional festivals
connecting with agricultural cycle & other community rites & practices.
Their cultural traditions are best reflected in their folk songs & dances.
Khuong (drum) is the main part of the musical instrument. The other musical
instruments are Pheiphit (whistle made of bamboo), Theihlea (bamboo flute),
Darkhuong (gong), Darbu (set of small gong), Darmang (flat brass gong), Seki
(set of mithun horn), Hna Mut (Leaf instrument), Perkhuong (guitar made of
the Hmar geneology, the following are the major clans. They are Lawitlang, Zote,
Lungtau, Thiek, Khawbung, Pakhuong, Faihriem, Darngawn, Leiri, Ngurte, Khiengte,
Pautu and Ngente.
The chief of
their village council is called “LAL” .He is selected from amongst the youngest
son except Leiri & Faihriem Clans.He is all-powerful and everybody follows
his leadership and directive.
womenfolk are great weavers in their tiny loin looms. They dye their homespun
yarns into different colours and weave exquisite clothes for the family. Man and
women wear different kind of clothes. Hmar – am is finely woven cloth for the
aristocratic womenfolk, Tawn lo – puon is a breast cloth never to be touched by
a man, Tharlaikawn is a body wrapper with coloured strips on the back for the
women. Ngo – tlong is a white wrapper for women, Thangsuo – Puon is for the
great hunters and heroes who have earned the title ‘Thangsuo” for valour, Rukrak
– puon is a long wrapper for village aristocrats, Hmar – puon is a common cloth
with black and white strips, Daraki is a dhoti for the malefolk, Paihar is a
chaddar for men, Lukawm is a soft cloth for man’s headgear, Puondum is a chaddar
for menfolk and Puon – Kernei is the finely woven breast wrapper for the village
highlighting agricultural practices is Sikpuiruoi and Butukhuonglom. They
express their happiness in Dar lam and Parton lam dances by rhythmic beating of
the drums. To honour a great hunter they perform Pheiphitlam dance accompanied
by melodious tune trilling from their flutes. To perform Fahral Tawk lam, they
use bamboo poles like the Mizos (in their famous Cheraw dance).
perform a number of dances –the Harvest dance is called Chon lam, the hunting
dance is known as Salu lam and a privately organized festival dance is popular
as Thangkawngvailak. The dancers, both boys and girls, put on their colourful
traditional dresses and the boys wear headgear Tawnlairang made of bird’s
feathers or Lukhum made of bamboo, and the colourful shawl called Hmar puon. The
girls adorn themselves with ornaments like Kutsabi (ring), Banbun (bangles),
Nabe (earings), Thi (Seeded Necklace), Thi val (beaded ornaments), Thi hna
(beaded ornaments) etc, and wear exquisitely embroidered Puons, Puonbil and
Zakuo.They rejoice in drinking ‘ Zu’ (rice beer) and the oldman and woman smoke
in their ‘Tuibur’ pipes at their hearts content.
are great hunters and while returning with precious games, they dance ‘Salu lam’
to mark their victory.
love dancing so much that the very thought of the dance arena brings out the
dancers in them. And they dance ‘Chon lam’ while proceeding to the arena.
THIS WEBSITE HAS BEEN DESIGNED & DEVELOPED BY N.I.C., DIMA HASAO DISTRICT UNIT ON BEHALF OF DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION, DIMA HASAO, ASSAM