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Mai Ko Som Phai celebrated

Mai-Ko-Som-Phai the traditional religious festival of Tai community of Theravada Buddhist religion was observed with much enthusiasm in Namsai dist and Changlang dist with day long programme on February 23 last. The Theravada Buddhist Society Itanagar also celebrated the day with great festivity at the Temple premises.

Tall hayricks made of wood and straw were constructed and set on fire early in the next morning by observing certain religious customs and traditions by the Tai community. This festival offered the devotees a primetime entertainment moreover this occasion also marks the end of the winter season and the beginning of the summer of the lunar year.

Mai-Ko-Som-Fai festival is a ritual ceremony held on the full moon day of Magha connected with the offering of fire. The traditional festival of Mai-Ko-Som-Phai holds special significance for all the followers of Buddhism as it is believed that Gautama Buddha pronounced his impending death on this day. This festival is celebrated with great solemnity paying homage to the momentous events of the last years of the Buddha's life. The word Mai-Ku-Som-Phai which is in Tai Khampti language means to set fire a stack of firewood.

A popular local dish of the Tai community known as Khao Ya-Ku or Khao Nam Pa, a mixture of rice, sesame seeds, yam, leafy vegetables, nuts and condiments is prepared for a community feast during this festival is yet another attraction of this celebration.

Performing rituals of Uposatha (observance day) and observance of the Pancha Silas (Five Precepts) by the Theravada Buddhist layman and ordained members of the Sangha are some other highlights of the festival.

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