Mizoram practices jhum cultivation which involves burning the jungle and clearing the remnants of earlier crop before new crop is planted. Usually this takes time, so between 1450 -1600 A.D. while the Mizo forefathers inhabited Lentlang, they started a festival and called it Chap Char Kut. It is believed to have been first celebrated in a village called Suaipui. In old days this could last for days and in the run up to the grand finale, there are well laid down steps to be followed. Everyone in the village have a role to play with the youths, involved in every stage of the preparation of the festival. There would be singing, dancing and merry making. It was a festival of joy, all disputes and differences within the community had to be sorted out. Even disputes between the married couples was considered a taboo. There was an abundant supply of meat and home brewed liquor.
Then came the Christian missionaries who frowned upon this and the practice was stopped. However in 1973, it was revived again but consumption of alcohol was not permitted. To attain a position of distinction, a Mizo had to go through a series of ceremonies and perform many feats of heroic deeds. These ceremonies are always accompanied by a feast and to this feast, friends from nearby villages were invited. Among the various dances performed is Cheraw or the ‘bamboo dance’ where the men folks tap the bamboos and open and close in rhythmic beats as the dancer steps in and out gracefully to the beats of the bamboos. It is the most colourful and distinctive dance of the Mizos.
Then there is, Khuallam, the dance for the visitors or guests, the ‘Chheihlam’ is another community dance performed by both men and women. Solakia is the war dance, a prerogative of the male population of the community. It is accompanied by rhythmic beating of the drums.
These days school children also take part and perform various dances. Local music bands and singers are also part of the festival. The whole Aizawl town is in festive spirits and the enthusiasm of Mizos is to be seen to be believed.
Great time to be in Aizawl on that particular day.