October is the month of festivity which every Pochury
anxiously awaits, every year to celebrate their greatest festival Yimshe.
Yimshe is the festival of welcoming the new harvest and blessing. Al the
Pochuries, young and old, rich and poor, celebrate this festival with
great pomp and gaiety anticipating a good harvest which they deserve
after a year's hard labour under scorching sun and merciless rain
No one is allowed to harvest until the whole period of festival is over.
Originally, the festival commence from the last part of September with
different categories of observances till the final day which falls ion
the first week of October every year. Yimshe is observed only on the 5th
October keeping in tune with the final days of the traditional
observance of the festival.
When the time approaches, the village spokesman will
announce the arrival of Yimshe. The very next day the festivities will
begin with the observance of the first part of rituals. There will be
preparations. The youth of the village will clean the whole village,
footpaths, wells and fields and construct Basket and resting places.
After the necessary materials used in rituals are fastened to the main
post of the front house. Engaged couples will renew their relationship
with exchange of food or wine and eat together. Many young couples come
to know each other and get themselves engaged during this period. As
such, this festival is important and enjoyable particularly to young
people and farmers in general. This is known as Big Yimshe.
The small Yimshe, like Big Yimshe, is also celebrated
with rituals. For sanctification of the house, a ritual feast has to be
hosted by a rich family. All the villagers will observe the period with
great solemnity till the end of the period. The family who host the
sanctification feast has to fulfill the following conditions before the
1. The family who host the Sanctification Feast will
have to provide wine to all families of the village.
2. The family will have to host a dance party of his
(head of the family) age group, men and women in the village and in Khel
wise as well. Feast will be given to the dancers, and meat will be
distributed to all his age group friends.
3. Cutting of bamboo mugs will be held twice. All the
host’s clansmen/nephews will make new bamboo mugs. They will take wine
from these mugs which will be kept with the host. Also all the old mugs
will be collected from every house and kept in the host’s family for
4. Only paddy rice will be arranged (not millet,
maize etc ) and distributed to all the houses by the host and later
cooked rice will be again collected and redistributed to all the
families of the village.
5. All the clansmen will take one Mithun and a
chicken to a river on the way to the jhum field and feast. They will
construct a resting shed there for the host of the Sanctification feast.
It is believed that in the second life. Those who have not hosted the
sanctification feast can not sigh with a deep breath as “ewhi”, but can
only say “korowhi” and those who have not preformed the resting shed
feast they can only say “owhi”
6. For reserving of frogs, one axe each for three
rivers is given to the villagers, as frogs in these rivers are reserved.
This will be followed by giving out a big feast to all the village
elders. After that it will be announced in the village that Yimshe
festival and no other should go to these rivers to catch it.
7. After wine and food is arranged, the master of the
festival will ask his villagers to fetch him pine-woods and he will give
a big feast to his villagers. Men will take 6 pieces of meat while women
will take only 5 pieces.
8. All the clansmen will carry well-prepared food and
wine and go to the reserved rivers and make bridges/ladders for frog
catchers to enable them to go to any part of the river. At the same
time, they shall eat and drink and enjoy themselves. This is a part of
many games they play.
9. A chicken will be kept in a cage in a selected
tree on the way to the field. After that a selected group will go to
that spot with dried frogs where chicken was kept and have a feast
there. Every household have to perform this. Even the poorest family
have to perform this ritual by roasting Brinjal as the substitute to
frogs and chicken.
10. It is traditionally believed that the most
fertile lands were under the control of devils. Sacrificial acts also
therefore have to be performed according to the fertility of the land.
For the most fertile land for the less fertile land a chicken has to be
sacrificed, then a pig and chicken has to be sacrificed in the field.
Two big gourds of wine will be carried, one for halfway and the other
for sacrificial consumption. While coming back from their fields a
particular group will not mingle with other groups. So, a Mithun group,
pig group, Pig group and Chicken group shall come back home separately.
Likewise, wine also will be taken separately.
After all the arrangements like collection of green
vegetables, meat etc. and performances of rituals are completed, the
master will select six supervisors; two for washing ginger, four to
supervise the butchers for preparation of the feast for the whole
village. All young and old will come and help the host in preparation of
the feast. In this feast, Mithun, Pigs and Chicken will be slaughtered.
If there is no Mithun there pigs will substitute a Mithun. Womenfolk
will pound rice and cook. While the men folk will be busy for cutting of
the meat, and other difficult jobs. By sundown, all villagers, from
youngest to the oldest will come together to attend a great feast.
Few quantities of all sorts of foodstuffs and rice
grains shall be shared and offered to the dead souls as farewell gifts
and greetings of the Yimshe Feast.
The last day of the feast will be impressively
observed as the Feast Cleansing Day. All will remain at home and no one
will do anything, neither go on journey nor anywhere. From the very next
day all types of harvests and collection of house construction material
etc. will begin as the happiest moment for the farmers has come with the
blessings of God.