Nestled quaintly within the jaws of Ziro Valley, deep in Arunachal Pradesh, India, the Apatani people thrive. The Apatani, also known intimately as the Tani, are commonly known for the practice of nose plugging and dark facial tattoos. However, they are a people that pride themselves in their basic way of life. Although Christianity began to seep into the threads in which the Apatani formed perfect seams of their religion, they still practice and follow the Danyi-Piilo faith. These means that they pray to the fiery sun (Ayo Danyii) and the silver moon (Atoh Pillo). They also believed that bad spirits caused misfortune; so in order to please Abotani, or the founder of their people, chickens, cows, and other animals were sacrificed.
The lifestyle of the Apatani people is one of wonders due to the way they wore elaborately complex, colorful, and traditional garments. The men would often tie their hair in a strong knot that rested on he curve just before the forehead started. They wore strips of cane painted red tied loosely around their waists, and they would tattoo a very bold ’T’ just under the fullness of their lips.
These are a people that believe that rain is a good omen, and that festivals are needed to celebrate the connection between one soul to the next. The Myoko Festival is all about friendship and harmony between the Apatani villages. Men grace the village, all carrying palmyra fronds. Once they finished chanting around the village a few times, they place their fronds on a ritual hut only used for the celebration. Later during the festival, shamans chant above whatever is used to be sacrificed, usually piglets and roosters. Newly-wed women do the honors of blessing the animals before they are killed by sprinting handfuls of rice powder over their bodies, and dowsing them generously with rice beer. Later, the meat is used and shared to neighbors and friends.
Customly, the men have a higher status than the women, but both share household responsibilities. The women typically make the internal family income and look after the house, garden, and nurse the children while the men partake in intensive labor that is to be done in the fields without the aid of animals or machines.
As of today, traditional customs, ideas, still ring proud and true among the the Apatani people. Even though times have changed and certain customs that they partook in changed along with it, the Apatani have never lost sight on who they are.