Culture of Mizoram

The culture of Mizoram reflects the quintessential lifestyle and traditional heritage of the inhabitants of the Mizoram, popularly known as the 'Songbird of the North east'. The people of Mizoram are collectively known as the Mizo. Etymologically, the term Mizo can be bifurcated into 'Mi' meaning people and 'Zo' that signifies the hill. Thus the very nomenclature of the tribal community illustrates the fact that they hail from the highland.

The residents of Mizoram are very proud of their cultural legacy and go great lengths to preserve it despite considerable foreign intrusion. With changing times, Mizoram too is moving towards modernization but the state government has ensured that every bucolic hamlet in the state, irrespective of its remote location, is endowed with an YMA (Young Mizo Association). This body has been designed with the sole aim to leave a distinct tincture of the traditional societal values and customs among the state's youth. This is reflected in the state's cultural extravaganzas and numerous fairs and festivals and music and dance that have been passed down through the generations.

It is rather interesting to note the indelible impact of Christianity on the state's culture. The advent of the 19th century Christian missionaries considerably enriched the state's culture. Not only was a new and formal writing script was developed, the strong impact of Christianity have resulted in the Mizo inhabitants emerging some of the finest choir singers in the Indian subcontinent.

The patriarchal Mizo society strictly follows "Tlawmngaina", a code of ethics that emphasizes on every individual to be kind, generous and hospitable to his peers, irrespective of caste and creed.

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Music of Mizoram

Music of Mizoram mainly comprises of both songs and musical instruments. The folk music occupies an eminent place among the traditional music of Mizoram. The folk songs of Mizoram can be broadly divided into ten types such as: Songs named after Tribes, Thiam hla & dawi hla (Invocation & Incantation), Dar Hla, Bawh Hla, Hlado, Puipun Hla, Lengzem Zai, Songs named after Tribes, Songs named after individuals, Songs named after modulation of the voice. The traditional music of Mizoram is usually accompanied with dance and drama.

The origin of music of Mizoram is a mystery story. Therefore, it is very difficult to chronologically arrange the sequences of the heritage of Mizoram Music. However, developments of some couplets can be traced between 1300 and 1400 AD during the establishment of Thantlang in Burma. B. Lalthangliana has stated that some of the folk songs that evolved during this period were Hla do (Chants of hunting); Dar Hla (songs on gong); Nauawih Hla (Cradle songs) and Bawh Hla (War chants). More songs were developed between late 15th and 17th Century AD.

A number of musical instruments accompany the folk songs of Mizoram. These musical instruments can be broadly classified into three categories: String instruments, Beating or Striking instruments and Wind instruments. Some of the String instruments are Tingtang, Lemlawi and Tuiumdar. Talhkhuang, Khuang and Dar, Bengbung, Seki are few Beating or Striking instruments. The popular Wind instruments are Hnahtum, Mautawtawrawl, Rawchhem, Tumphit, Phenglawng and Buhchangkuang.

To know more about Music of Mizoram read on.


The folk songs are the most popular Mizoram Songs. According to a study on the basis of the traditional system of classification, the folk songs of Mizoram can be divided into nearly 400 different types of folk songs. However, it can be broadly divided into ten categories such as:

Bawh Hla: It is a type of chant or cry that is produced by the warriors while returning back home after the successful raid.

Songs named after modulation of the voice: There are a number of songs that have derived their name on the basis of the modulation of the voice like Zai nem, Puma zai, Kawrnu zai, Vai zawi zai, etc.

Songs named after Tribes: Some of the folk songs are named after the name of the villages namely Lumtui zai, Dar lung zai etc.

Thiam hla & dawi hla (Invocation & Incantation): While executing different ceremonies the priests and the witchs usually chant these two forms of verses.

Hlado: It is the chant or cry that is raised by the hunters after their successful hunting expedition.

Puipun Hla: These types of songs are sung during merry and festive occasions. They are the most popular folk songs of the region.

Lengzem Zai: They are a type of love songs with no distinguishing form.

Songs named after Tribes: The various verse forms are named after a special tribe like Sailo zai, saivate zai etc.

Dar Hla: These songs are given name according to the usage of various musical instruments.

Songs named after individuals: A huge number of the folksongs of Mizoram have derived its name from the name of an individual. These individuals are either the original composers of the music or a beautiful women or the hero of a particular tribe.

Some of the major themes of Mizoram songs are patriotism, war, hunting, love and nature.

Musical Instruments

The Musical Instruments form an integral part of the music of Mizoram. Since time immemorial, the people of Mizoram have been using various types of musical instruments. If we compare the traditional musical instruments of Mizoram with other Indian musical instruments we will find that they are very simple and crude.

The Musical Instruments of Mizoram can be broadly classified into three categories: String instruments, Beating or Striking instruments and Wind instruments.The stringed-instruments of Mizos can be categorized into three types such as Tingtang, Lemlawi and Tuiumdar. Tingtang is similar to a guitar, comprising of only one string. Lemlawi belongs to the family of Jew's harp but the shape and size of this musical instrument is different. Tuiumdar has three strings which produces three different notes.

Striking instruments are the most popular Mizo musical instruments, which are used during the festivals and dances. Some of the varieties of striking instruments are Khuang and Dar, Talhkhuang, Bengbung, Seki. Khuang is a very important instrument which is used in almost all occasions. Depending on the various sizes Dar or brass-gongs can be segregated as Darkhuang, Darbu and Darmang. Wind Instruments

There are six types of wind-instruments in Mizoram namely Buhchangkuang, Rawchhem, Tumphit, Hnahtum Mautawtawrawl and Phenglawng. Rawchhem is quite similar to a Scottish Bagpiper or Chinese Snag, made from bamboo pipes or hollow reeds. Phenglawng is also made of bamboo and is like a Mizo flute. Buhchangkuang is another type of flute created from reed or a paddy stalk.