Me-Dam-Me-Phi is a traditional festival celebrate by all the peoples belong to Tai-Ahom community in entire Assam. This festival is being celebrated all over the Assam each year on 31st January (especially in Sivasagar, Dibrugarh and Lakhimpur). Here the word ‘me’ means offerings, ‘dam’ means ancestors, and ‘phi’ means God. In essence, the festival is one where offerings are made to the ancestors spirit. In ancient times, it was observed by kings after victories in wars and to propitiate the ancestral spirits for their blessings to ward off any dangers.
The Ahom belief is that the departed soul lingers as an ancestor (dam) for few days after death and then transcends the earthly plane to become god (phi). Once united with the Supreme Being, it becomes immortal and a spiritual being who always showers blessings upon his earthly family.
In the year 1563 , the Ahom king Suhungmung defeat the kocharis on the banks of the river Dhansiri and occupied the whole dhansiri valley along wih the northern portion of the kolong river. In order to commemorate that victory, the king Suhungmung performed Me-dam-me-phi for the first time on the land of Assam. After that there seen lots of Ahom kings perfomed Me-dam-me-phi on many occasion for averting any imminent danger, commemorating the victory and desiring longevity of life.
Me-dam-me-phi is one of the important festivals observed by the Ahoms from very ancient times. The Ahoms perform this worship annually in honour of their ancestors. The Ahom belives that a man after his death remains as ‘Dam’(ancestors) only for few days and soon he becomes ‘Phi’(God). They also believe that the soul of a man which is immortal unites with the supreme soul, possesses the qualities of a spiritual being and always blesses the family. When Me-dam-me-phi is observed publicly worship is offered in the name of three Gods and they are Me Dam Me Phi, Dam Changphi and Grihadam. God Dam Chao Phi is associate with the belief of some natural powers like creation and destruction, water, lightning and storm, sun, moon, disease, etc.
Worship is done by the ahom priests Deodai and Bailung by chanting Tai mantras. On the day of me dam me phi worship is offered only to Chaufi and Dam Chaufi because they are regarded as Gods of Heaven. So, there are several instances of performing this festival by the Ahom kings.
Me-Dam-Me-Phi is the most important festival for Ahom people in Assam showing the respects to their ancestors. In Assam it is celebrated on 31st January every year.