Monday, August 20, 2018
Nagaland

Festivals


The festivals are mostly related to agricultural operations. The important thing about the Naga festivals is their corporate character.

The community as a whole participates in the celebrations. There is a definite programme stretching over a specified period in which all the village folk join.

Moatsu

Among the Aos, the most important festival is Moatsu, which is celebrated after the sowing is over. The festival last six days. On the first night of the festival sexual intercourse was forbidden. Every man was required to wear a new belt, for hanging his dao. The unmarried men received belts as presents from their girl friends, the married men got from their wives. During this occasion, the restriction relating to dress and ornaments were relaxed. People could wear even the forbidden ones according to their will.

The most important role, during the festival used to be played by the youths of the bachelor's dormitory. Before the festival, the morung had to be repaired and cleansed. The dancing drums were also put to order by attaching new skins. On the first day of the festival, the boys belonging to the younger age-groups used to go to the jungle and collect six bundles of paired bamboo strips each. These they handed over to the morung elders, for use according to their discretion. On the second day, all the boys and grown-up males engaged themselves in clearing the village, particularly the main approaches to the village.

That night, the cows and the pigs to be slaughtered on the occasion of this festival were tied outside the morung. On the third day, the cows and the pigs would be killed. The meat was distributed among the boys of the morung and some portion was kept apart, to be given as present. In the evening, the boys would eat the meat outside the morung. Later some old men would come to the morung and would be entertained with meat and rice-beer. When they would eat the meat, the boys would be singing songs inside the morung. On the fourth day, the people of Mongsen Khel would dance in procession; in all the streets of the village. On the fifth day, the people of Chungli Khel would dance similarly. The women were not to take any part in these dances, but at intervals they served rice-beer to the dancers. The old men also would not dance, but follow the dancer, singing songs. A drummer always accompanied the party and the people would dance to the beatings of the drum. On the sixth day, both the Khels used to dance together.

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