Explore the Culture, Tradition, Fairs and Festivals of Andaman Island
Culture and Races
The culture of Andaman and Nicobar Islands has become a mixture of various languages, religions and ethnic groups. The capital city of Port Blair presents an international culture with people from all over the world coming and settling here.
Andamanese is the ethnic tribes inhabiting the islands of Andaman. They are further bifurcated into five primary groups viz. Great Andamanese, Jarawa, Jangil, Onge and Sentinelese.
Great Andamanese: The population of the Great Andamanese were approximately 10,000 during 1789, and they were considered the largest tribe on the Emerald Island. But they soon became a sad story with their population dwindling radically. As it stood in the year 1969, only 19 of them were left.
Jarawa: This tribe existed in western coasts of Middle and South Andaman Islands and also depended on hunting for deriving food and water. The Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Tribal Affairs and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Administration have collaborated to ensure that the Jarawa tribe does not become extinct and therefore they have reserved an extensive 1028 square kilometer to ensure that they get a constant supply of raw forest food.
Onge: Onge is one the ancient tribes of Andaman islands and reside at Dugong Creek. They are a black coloured tribe of Asian origin. They were the only imperishable natives of Little Andaman until the 1940s when their land was taken by migrants from India, Bangladesh and the Nicobar Islands. At present, they share their land with over 18,000 settlers.
Sentinelese: The natives of this tribe mostly dwell the North Sentinel Island in the Andamans. They have maintained their original identity but have lost connection with the other main tribes and are untouched by the spread of modernity or the impact of the outside world. They are best-known for their forceful conduct and therefore, have preserved their identification.
Social Customs and Traditions
Social customs and traditions in Andaman islands are very much influenced by nature. Tribal folk dances are an integral part of the customs and traditions in Andaman. The Ossuary Feast is a predominant festival that is held for paying deference to the departed soul of the family, eradicate evil spirits, and encourage the growth of new crops. The event is done with the graceful circular Nicobarese Folk Dance that is done on a full moon day. Precipitants of the event wear a traditional costume that is made of banana and plantain leaves tied on their heads and waists. Pig fighting and canoe racing complete the festival. A great many pigs are also killed to make a grand feast.
Fairs and Festivals
Andaman islands is a home to some of the fabulous fairs and festivals that take place throughout the year. The picturesque Emerald island is a perfect host to the following festivals and fairs.
Island Tourism Festival: It is a 10-day extravaganza which is organized to encourage tourism and entertainment of the Andaman islands. There is a sale of miscellaneous merchandise, food stalls, floating restaurant and much more. Besides several merchandise stalls and performances, the festival also hosts grand puppet show, baby show and dog show for entertainment.
Beach Festival: This promises unlimited fun and thrill for those who love to bask in nature’s plenty and are fond of sea, sun, and beach. There are food-courts, entertainment programs, fun-filled activities and lots more to enjoy. You can try beach volleyball for excitement and fun.
Food Festival: This festival lasts for 4 days and is perfect for all food lovers. You can enjoy music, various cultural programs and different kinds of delightful ethnic food of Andaman.
Film Festival: The festival exhibits a wide assortment of classic Indian films of different languages, which are screened at various venues and is free of cost. You can watch the retrospective of different actors.
Music/Monsoon Festival: Music/Monsoon Festival is hosted to welcome the heralding of the auspicious Monsoon season, a season of prosperity.
All the fairs and festivals serve as the perfect podium for a get-together. There are a plethora of activities you can do including eating at the food-courts, enjoy recreation programs, participate in fun activities, buy handicrafts etc.
Food and Cuisine
Seafood is the biggest attraction for the Andamanese. They are very fond of fishes and love to include them in all their meals. Prawns, fishes, lobsters and crabs are extremely popular. If we trace back the history, it has been found that the tribal people living in Andaman found sustenance in fruits, meat and fish and were dependent on hunting as the best method of getting their food. Their traditional diet comprised of dugong, fish, turtle, crabs, pork and turtle eggs. However, with tourism becoming the mainstay of income for Andaman, Continental, Chinese, and Indian dishes have become popular. There are several restaurants here which serve authentic Indian and Chinese preparations.
For more than hundreds of years, people hailing from South India have migrated to the islands and have settled here. They brought their culture, spices and food style with them to the islands during the process of migration. Since then Idlis, Sambhar, Dosas and Vadas, have become sought-after which are cooked using coconuts, tamarinds, and spices. Those who settled from Kerala, their basic food consists of fish and rice, along with Banana and Jackfruit Chips.