In Koraput district of Orissa live the Koyas, a tribal community. Most of their dances reflect the perils of jungle life and hunting. In the lunar month of Chaitra (March/April) the Koyas observe a festival called Bijja Pandu to worship their deity who bestows good and plentiful harvest. During the festival the men folk go hunting while the women perform the dance named after the festival. On other occasions both men and women participate in the dance which starts with slow steps and the rhythm builds up gradually with the tempo of the drum music. The women provide the beat with sticks fitted with jinglebells, while the men wearing turbans decorated with bison horns play the drums.
The Hazaongs, a small tribal community which live in the Garo hills of Meghalaya celebrate a festival every year just before the harvest. It is believed that proper observance of this festival not only invokes God’s blessings for a good and plentiful harvest, but also ensures the well-being of the community through -out the year. The Hazong dance is the most important aspect of the festival. Both men and women participate in the dance.
Warli, an ancient tribe of Western India, lives in the Vindhya and Satpura hill ranges. In Maharashtra, they are concentrated in western districts of Nasik and Thana with a population of about four hundred thousands. They play an interesting musical instrument called Tarpa. It is made with the thick skin of a whole gourd into which a bamboo pipe with finger holes is inserted to form a wind instrument. It is decorated with colorful threads and the fronds appear like the feather of a peacock. The harvest dance that is centered around this musical instrument is called Tarpa dance. It is performed in the month of September/October with the belief that the dance will impart necessary vitality to the growing crops for a rich harvest. Men and women both wearing colorful costumes and decorated with leaves and flowers dance usually in circular formation with, the Tarpa player at the center. Tarpa is generally played by an old man who has gained expertise in the art of playing it. Through his control of the instrument, he provides variations in the tempo of the dance.
Finally comes the Mage Parab, the most important festival of the Hos. It is held between December and February when the crops from every field have been harvested. Mage means mother and the festival is celebrated in the memory of the first mother of the human beings. In the evening of the festival day the Mage dance is performed by both men and women like all the dances discussed above. The musical instruments that accompany the dances are Dumarg (which is more commonly known as Maandar), a cylindrical drum with two faces, Dram, a hemispherical drum with one face like nagada, and bamboo flute.
When the paddy grains ripen the Nom-jama festival is held. The ripe grains of paddy is taken and after parboiling are beaten flat. In Ho dialect it is called Taben, in Hindi it is called Chewda, which is given as offering to Sing-Bonga, the supreme deity of the Hos and also to the spirits of the ancestors on the leaves of SoSo (black nut) and Kusha grass. New rice is also cooked on this day. None take new rice before this day. The dance performed is named after the festival.