Fairs and festivals of Nagaland

Fairs and festivals of Nagaland

Sekrenyi Festival

The Sekrenyi Festival starts with the “kizie’ ritual and on the first day the men go for a bath to the village well. Two young tribals then clean the well at night and it is guarded to prevent anyone from using it after it is cleaned. The early mornings again, the men take a bath ceremoniously . The Thekra Hie is the best part of the festival when the young men and women of the tribe sit together, singing traditional tribal songs. There are jugs of rice beer as well as plates of meat kept in front of the participants. The men go for hunting on the seventh day of the Sekrenyi Festival. The most significant part of the festival is on the eight day when there is bridge pulling or gate pulling and there are inter village visits. It is only when the festival ends that people resume their work on the fields.

Amongmong festival

Amongmong festival is a pre-Harvest festival of the Sangam tribe who are the residents of Nagaland with the prime aim of the promotion of togetherness. This 6-day festival celebrated with extremely fervor and enthusiasm by the people where they also worship their local deities. The people of the tribes place 3 cuisine stones close to the fireplace so that they can accomplish the tribe’s health, good harvest and prosperity.

The priest of the village makes an announcement in the night and then next morning reads-out the declaration about the festival. The villagers make arrangements for food, special wines (Rohi and Madhu) and firewood are arranged by the villagers. Then the priest goes on with his announcement to break up the spirit of dead from the living ones of the tribes. This festival is celebrated to get a good harvest, which is the special significance. Singkitshaa is the first day of Amongmong.

Hornbill Festival

The eagerly awaited Hornbill Festival, is one of the most cherished festivals of Nagaland, India’s Far North Eastern state and celebrated by locals with much enthusiasm and zeal. The festival is named after Hornbill, one of the most venerated bird species in the state whose importance is reflected in a number of tribal cultural expressions, songs and dances. Almost 85% of Nagaland’s population still depends upon agriculture, so most of their festivals revolve around agriculture which they consider sacred. The Hornbill Festival is one of the largest celebrations of the indigenous warrior tribes of Nagaland.

Naga people have a rich tradition of maintaining their unique heritage and customs. In spite of the tremendous modernity entering into their lives, the people have preserved their customs and legacy and have kept the torch of their tribal identity lighted. Nagaland is called the land of festivals and people in the state have a fondness of celebrating the deeds of their ancient warriors and folk heroes as well as songs that immortalize love stories, folk tunes and gospel songs.

Each of the tribes and subtribes in the state have their own way of cultivating their individual culture. In addition to their traditional ceremonial attires which is different for each tribe, there are multi-colored spears, doas with dyed goat’s hair, exotic headgears and ivory armlets. In earlier times, the fighters had to prove their bravery, in order to wear these. The Hornbill Festival is one the largest celebration in Nagaland and there is huge gathering and much merrymaking in the form of drinking, eating, singing and dancing.

Tuluni Festival

The most significant festival celebrated by the Sumi Naga tribe of Nagaland is the Tuluni Festival. This festival is celebrated to rejoice the most abundant and fruitful season of the year in Nagaland. The Sumi tribe in Nagaland celebrates the Tuluni Festival with splendor and grandeur. During the Tuluni Festival there are prayers and offerings that are given to Litsaba, who is the deity of fruitfulness who gives life and protection to the crops.

During the Tuluni Festival in Nagaland , a goblet is made with the leaf of plantain , to serve the rice beer. Tuluni is the name of this wine that is consumed by the Sumi tribe. “anni’ is another name for ‘Tuluni’ meaning the season of plenteous crops. To make the celebrations much more joyous, it is during the Tuluni festival that the fiancé is invited over to the finacee’s place and the young couples exchange gifts. Engaged couples get married and start their new lives and all are fed lavishly with meat and other delicious food. There are folk songs and ballads that are sung to keep the spirit of the festival high.

Yemshe Festival

The Yemshe Festival in Nagaland is celebrated by the Pochuri tribe. Being one of their most important festivals, the Pochuri Tribe wait anxiously all year round for this time when they come together and celebrate the Yemshe Festival with fun and frolic. It is with grand celebrations and ceremony that the Yemshe Festival is held and all members of the tribe, the young and the old come together with the hope of a good harvest after a year of hard work.

The village spokesman announces the date for the Yemshe festival after which the arrangements and festivities begin. The whole village is cleaned by the village youth, starting from the streets, footpaths to the wells and the fields. The head of the family perform the rituals of the Yemshe Festival whose materials are then fastened to the entrance of each house. It is also the time for fun and merry making as engaged couples exchange gifts and indulge in feasts and wine. This is called the Big Yemshe when people get to know each other and also get engaged. The celebration of the Yemshe with rituals is called the small Yemshe, when a rich family hosts the ritual Purification feast. The feast continues and there are a number of rituals and specific arrangements that are made till the last day of the feast which is the feast cleansing day. All people stay indoors the last day of the feast following which arrangements start for the next harvesting time.

Nazu Festival

One of the most enjoyable and colorful festivals of Nagaland, celebrated by the Pochury Tribe there is the Nazu Festival. The time for celebrating the Nazu Festival is just before the annual sowing of seeds take place. The whole outlook of the festival is les of rituals and more of pure entertainment and competition. There are dances and music performed by the tribal folks.

There is a lot of dazzle and shine associated with the Nazu Festival in Nagaland. Melodious tribal songs and entertaining dances keep spirits high during the 10 days of the Nazu Festival. The most well known of the dances performed is the Khupielilie dance of the tribes. This dance is popular because of the tuneful and harmonious movements of the hands and legs of al the dancers, that presents a beautiful and amusing sight.

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