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Sekrenyi Festival of Angami ( Feb)


The Angamis celebrate Sekrenyi festival in the month of February. It normally falls on the 25th day of the Angami month of "Kezei". This ten day festival is also called Phousanyi. After the first ceremony "Kizie" a number of rituals and ceremonies are performed during this festival. A few drops of rice water taken from the top of a jug, called "Zumho", are put into leaves, and placed at the three main posts of the house by a lady of the household. On the first day morning all male members go to the village well to and take bath. In the night, two young men clean the village well and some ofthe village youth guard the well in the night as fetching of water is restricted after the cleaning. Early in the next morning, all the young men of the village wash themselves at the well in a ritualisticmanner. Then they perform the "Dzuseva" (touching the sleeping water) ceremony wearing two new shawls, the white Mhoushu and the black Lohe and sprinkling water on their breast, knees and on their right arm to wash away all their ills and misfortunes by the purified well water. On their return from the well, a cock is sacrificed by throttling it with the bare hands. It is taken as a good omen when the right leg falls over the left leg as the cock falls down. The innards of the fowl are taken out and hung outside the house for the village elders to come and inspect it. A three-day session of singing and feasting starts from the fourth day of the festival. The Thekra Hie is the best part of the festival where the young people of the village sit together and sing traditional songs throughout the day. Jugs of rice-beer and plates of meat are placed before the participants. On the seventh day, the young men go for hunting. The most important ceremony falls on the eight day, when the bridge-pulling or gate-pulling is performed or inter-village visits are exchanged. Until the close of the festival, no one goes to the fields and all fieldwork cease during this period. The young unmarried girls with closely shaven heads sit down with the youths and sing tunes of bygone ages, recreating a past where no care touched the human soul.

PAWLKUT(Dec-Jan)

It is a harvest festival, which came of some time in December or January when the harvest work of all the crops are over. In the past it was observed ad celebrated in a grand scale. With plenty of grains in the barn and all the labours of the year over, what a better time is thee than this to have a grand festival was the mood of the general people. This festival is now substituted by Christian festivals like Christmas and New Year.

Suhkuruhnye Festival of Chakhesang (15th Jan)

Suhkuruhnye is the most important festival of Chakhesang Nagas and is celebrated on 15th January. During this festival the boys and girls are sanctified through religious ceremonies and rituals. The Suhkuruhnye celebrated for eleven days starting from "Nyede". The first day of the festivity period is known as "Cedu". On this day animals are killed and the blood of the killed animals sprinkles on the main posts of the house. The first fetched out Suhkuruhnye wine is offered to the deities in banana leaf tumblers and the cooked meat and rice-beer are offered to the High-priest and priests of the village for blessings. The second day is "Suhkruh" meant for men folk. "Suhkruh" signifies sanctification of young, innocent and unspoiled boys for this ritualistic ceremony. On this day every man is to take a fresh-water-bath and is forbidden to use water fetched by women. To perform this ritualistic ceremony (Suhkruh) everything new is used including utensils and fireplace. The men folk go to the well early morning before any animal or bird touches or partakes of the water and takes a fresh-water-bath immediately after the first crow of cock, which indicates the breaking of a new day, in order to sanctify themselves. Thereafter, the unpolluted water, considered to be holy, is brought home, fire is made out of the fire making method and unblemished cock is killed and cooked with the holy water and eat it to sanctify the boy/boys for the rest of their lives. Even when a new house is constructed "Suhkruh" is performed in order to get his house sanctified. This whole process is called "Suhkruh" and "Nye" is known as festival. On this day, the entire men folk go for community bird-trapping. The collected birds are hung on a decorated tip of a tall bamboo as a symbol of "Suhkruhnye". Different kinds of birds so caught are believed to foretell the fortunes for the forthcoming days of the year of the concerned individual. The third day is called "Thuno Nuso" which is meant for women only. The mother performs this ceremonial ritual to sanctify her young innocent daughter/ daughters. "Thuno Nuso" is much simpler than that of "Suhkruh", they prepare an unblemished young hen and eat it to sanctify themselves for their entire lives. The fourth day is known as "Muthhi Celhu" where social feasts such as Mulelhu or feast of social age groups, Zhotho Muza (Feast of merit), etc. begins. This day is set aside from religious restrictions. The fifth day is known as "Cedu Zhongu" which means accomplishment of the festivals. The sixth day and the last day is known as "Thunye Mukra". On this day religious pursuits are relaxed and continue feasting, dancing and singing throughout the day and night till dawn. With the coming of Christianity, SUHKRUHNYE's religious and traditional ceremonies are no longer in practice in most of the villages. However, SUHKRUHNYE is still celebrated with great significance and enthusiasm mostly by the Chokris in Phek district. During this traditional festival the indigenous games, folk songs, folk dance and sports fully occupy the festive period of six days starting from January 15 in keeping with the Christian spirit. Suhkruhnye being a festival of sanctification, it is also marked as Children's Day. Water Baptism can take place on this occasion.

Hega Festival of Zeliang (Feb)

The Hega festival is one of the most important and the biggest festivals amongst the Zeliang community. It falls in the month of February fro 10 to 15 every year. It is a festival invoking the Almighty God to shower his blessing upon his people with richness, luck and courage. It is also a festival of joy, rest and get-together. On this day, people pray to Almighty God for protection and guidance. On this festival young couples are united for their future. The festival announced earlier and all the preparations are done before- hand. The festival begins with a variety of programmes and merrymaking. The first day of the festival called "Hega Teu Dap". On this day, all the killings of animals for the festival are done in every household and those who have no such animals either buy or share with other members. On this day itself the eldest of the family calls all his grandsons and daughters for a common meal to his house. Here they shared special songs that are composed specially for their grandsons and daughters. The grandsons and daughters have to wear new shawls for that special occasion. In the evening the engage couple, especially the bride, will present all the traditional dresses like shawls and other garments. Together with the boys and the elders there will be a common gathering at the bridegroom's Morung (the bride and the bridegroom are included). The second day is called "Herie Kap". On the second day of the festival, the gatekeeper of the main gate will have a special and separate prayer invoking the protection of the Almighty to the villagers and have to shower his blessing in all walks of life for the year to come. After the prayer, he would go to jungle and there also he will offer a special prayer asking God to show him the right tree for the sacrifice. When it is shown to him the youth will cut it and shape it into a Hornbill and put it up in the main Gate with decoration and other necessary things. In the evening, the elders and the boys will make noise (Nro) and go up and down the whole village for two or three times and at the end they will try to pierce the heart of the wooden Hornbill. If they manage it then it is good luck. Richness and blessing will be bestowed on his children. After this all men and boys will gather in their own morung to offer special prayer especially for good luck in hunting. The third day is called "Tsing Rak". On this day early in the morning, the bride will gather all the girls from her khel. They will go to the jungle to cut firewood for the evening. This firewood is split into small pieces and the bark is also taken out. The firewood will be fresh only. In the meantime, the elders and youth from the khel will go to the jungle and cut a big tree that is shaped after which colour is put on the two wooden pieces showing the purity and virginity of the bride. In the evening, the bride will carry the two wooden pieces that signifies her life. The firewood and the wooden pieces are kept in the main gate or the last gate of the village. With these two heavy wooden pieces (ten to twelve feet in height) the bride will start from the gate and the rest of the girls and boys will carry the fire wood and follow the bride to the girls Morung. On this night, the bridegroom will provide food and drinks to the girls in the Girls Morung.
The fourth day called "Rodi", and the last day of the festival is the important and exciting day of the festival. Here you will see early in the morning people putting on their traditional dress getting ready for the dance. The bride, together with some of her friends will go round the village and give bath to those who are unwilling to join the dance. For the bride it is the last dance in her life (a girl married can not join the dance again). In this dance only virgin girls are participated. For boys and men, whether they are married or not, they can dance all through their life if their health permits. The dances are performed in the evening with different steps and meaning. After the dances, all the dancers will go around the whole village singing and dancing, at some places they will play games and sing songs together with the bride and bridegroom. From the first day of the festival the eldest from each khel lights a new fire and this elders have to take only pork throughout the festival. Also, during the festival, no men should sleep with his wife for fear of losing good luck and courage especially in hunting. On the sixth day, elders put off the new fire and celebrate. But the rest of the villagers can start their work from that day onwards with all the blessing and luck from Almighty Good who always care for his children

 
 
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