Tuesday, January 1, 2008

It’s Murung Pullo!!

Puzzled? Well, it simply means ‘it’s the month of January’ in Apatani and I’ll dwell about this topic a little later in my post.

BTW, how did you bid adieu to the year gone by and welcomed the New Year?

For Hapolians, 31st December being marked as an ‘Indigenous Faiths Day’ all over Arunachal and the day being declared a state holiday this year, the follower of 'Donyi-Poloism’ flocked to ‘Abotani Hall’ where this day was being observed at Hapoli and for the rest of Hapolians, it was party time-time for picnic, time for late night parties and time to get glued to the TV sets surfing between various channels for New Year eve programmes. For the vegetable vendors, the butchers, the poultry farmers, the grocers, the confectioners and the wine shops, it was a field day- doing roaring businesses that they would normally do in a month or two in a single day.

Also, this New Year eve gave Hapolians a place to hang out till the wee hours, in the form of Voice of Apatani finals at Subansiri Stadium, Hapoli, which began around 6.00 pm and continued till the wee hours. Contestant no. 11, Buru Budhi Koyang, was declared the Voice of Apatani and I salute all those bravehearts who braved the chilly outdoor of Ziro to witness this event.

Having heard the contestant during elimination round and having heard of rigging of voting (apparently, the contestants himself would buy a huge quantity of voting coupons and vote for themselves to stay in the race), I couldn’t braved myself to stand all night in the chilly outdoor to hear them sing again; instead I decided to stay indoors and invited friends over dinner at my place. And what a decision I made, for I could, in the course of discussion during the get-together, learnt a bit about how the months are counted in Apatani.

And here is how:

Murung Pullo -corresponds to the month of January
Pagar Pullo - February
Myoko Pullo - March
Halying Pullo - April
Enda Pullo - May
Piimii Pullo - June
Piije Pullo - July
Millo (Mipya) Pullo - August
Pyapin Sobo Pullo - September
Entii (Bunchi Buntii) Pullo - October
Emo Pullo - November and
Nenke Pullo -December

During the course of discussion one question cropped up.

What calendar system do Apatani follows?

Is it a lunar calendar? Going by the way the Apatani's use moon phases to determine the month and the term used to describe the month i.e., Pullo or Piillo which literally means 'moon' in Apatani, it seems quite plausible that Apatani do follow the Lunar Calendar. But then, Apatani's do also follow the plant life cycle to determine the beginning and end of the month. For instance, the flowering of sembo (wild cherry) and takung (Peach or Apricot) indicates onset of Murung Pullo. Like wise, ginger plant starts dying after Emo Pullo and pine tree starts shedding it's leaves after Nenke Pullo and so on. Thus, it is also quite possible that Apatani's do follow other calendaring system in conjunction with Lunar Calendar.

Now coming back to the title "It's Murung Pullo"- well, I just meant to say Happy New Year!! as January month being the first month of the year and Murung Pullo indicating that we've entered into yet another year:)

Happy New Year to all. And don't forget to write in how you bid adieu to the year gone by and welcomed the New Year.:)


  • PB

    @ AG,
    First, Happy New Year !

    Your guess that Apatanis rely on both lunar cycles and the plant life cycle is correct. In fact they seem to follow a lunisolar calendar, i.e. based on the observation of both moon cycles and of the state of vegetation (which follows the solar cycle). As you probably know a lunar phase is about 29.5 days only, and the lunar year has got only 29.5 x12 = 354 days. Therefore an intercalary period has to be added each year to bring the lunar cycles into synchronisation with the solar year. In practice, most lunisolar calendars solve this problem by having a variable number of months in a year, usually 12 but sometimes a 13th month is added to the year. This way, months can be kept on a lunar cycle (piilo = month = moon) without drifting over time. To determine when this intercalary period has to be inserted some calendars rely on direct observations of the state of vegetation, and that could well be the case for Apatanis. Several months (Endi, Entii, Emo, Pyapin) are named after one of the words used to denote ‘paddy’ and/or refer to the associated agricultural activities. On the other hand, one author reports that Piimii and Piije are counted as 2 distinct months in ‘some places’, but only as one in ‘other places’. Could this refer to a possible 13th month ? The Apatani calendar still retains many of its mysteries...

  • AG

    Happy New Year to you too PB.

    Thanks for the clarification on the calendaring system of Apatani's. You are right that in some places Piimi and Piije are counted as two distinct months and hence 13 months in a year. But for people of Hari, I guess, it is counted as one month making a year to be of 12 months. One interesting aspect of Apatani Calendar is that for all the financial purposes, a year is considered to be of 10 months and I don't know actually why....may be one of it's many mysteries :)

  • wiian

    10 months in a financial year isn't really very cryptic. I would prefer to think 'Apatani microeconomics' is truely evolved. Ain't it a nice incentive for borrowers?

    Interestingly, I read somewhere there were only 11 months in Apatani calendar but I am no longer sure about that.
    And, I guess Murung is one among few months that most of the apatanis will recall by name. Me included.

  • AG


    yeah 'Apatani Microeconomics' has truly evolved and I guess it was right there in the society even before people here knew anything about micro-finance or microeconomics:)

    I too am not sure if some Apatani Calendar had 11 months in a year. Whatever I've heard of is having 12 or 13 months in a year.

    What about Myoko? I guess most of the apatani's would recall this month by name too.:)

Post a Comment