Culture of Andaman & Nicobar Islands
The culture of Andaman and Nicobar islands is unique, characterized by two distinct native populations – The Negrito population in the Andaman and The Autochthones i.e., the Mongoloid Nicobarese and Shompen. These two distinct cultures have retained their identities and culture despite the passage of a long time. The indigenous people with their composite culture and a unique lifestyle live in this region with dignity and honour.
However, the recent culture of Andaman and Nicobar islands is a blend of varied religions, languages and ethnic groups. All people live here with peace and harmony and maintain a unique culture of the territory. The capital city of Port Blair has a cosmopolitan culture with people settling from various parts of the globe. Religious, cultural as well as modern fairs and festivals are celebrated with great enthusiasm by all people irrespective of religions and faiths.
The indigenous tribes of these islands are distinguished in two groups: The Onge, Sentinelese, Jarawa and Andamanese of Negroid descent living on the Andaman Islands and The Shompen and Nicobarese of Mongoloid descent living in the Nicobar Islands.
Most of the tribes are on the verge of extinction. Outsiders attempting to make contact with them are driven away with bows and arrows. They continue to maintain a unique lifestyle living in harmony with nature. Andaman and Nicobar Islands have a unique culture, where is a blended harmony of different religions, languages and ethnic groups. The island is known as Mini India. The capital of the country, Port Blair has a cosmopolitan character. All important festivals are celebrated with equal enthusiasm by all religious groups.
Island Tourism Festival Island Tourism Festival: This festival is celebrated every year from December to January. It is a fortnight long festival. People staying all over the islands attend the exhibition organized during the festival. Cultural troupes and artistes of national and international fame are invited to perform during the festival apart from performances by the talents of these islands including tribals. Water sports as the Nicobari Hodi race are organized. Other attractions are Magic show, Puppet show, Floating restaurant, Baby show, and Dog show.
The Dress Patterns: Till recently the aboriginal tribes of these islands did not wear clothes. The Sentinelese tribes go naked even now. The Jarawas use only decorative items as necklaces made of shell and barks of trees, arm bands, waste bands etc. The Shompens use clothes only below their waist. The people of the Car Nicobar islanders now wear modern clothes and abandoned their traditional dresses like coconut leaf petticoats and the like. The Onges remained naked for centuries but now wear have adapted themselves to the dress code of the mainland.
There are Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and Sikhs in the Island. Inter-religion and inter-regional marriages are common. First Church was opened at Katchalwas on 8th January 1962. Now there are many big beautiful churches as well as Hindu temples present on the island. However, influences of have affected indigenous traditions, worship systems and belief.