Monday, April 06, 2020

In Pics: Rih Ngai – a Zeliangrong festival of war and victory
IFP Bureau | First Published: February 12, 2020 20:09:20 pm
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Rih Ngai, a festival of war and victory is celebrated by the Zeliangrong community settled in the Northeastern states of India. The festival is held annually in the month of February.

The term ‘Rih’ means war and ‘Ngai’ means festival. The festival is the reminiscence of wars and raids during the head hunting days

Some Zeliangrong celebrate Rih Ngai as Chaga Ngai. It is celebrated to protect the cultural identity of the community

On the day of the festival, ‘Danjaomei’, an omen taking rite, is performed early morning by a ‘Pei’ elder who officiates as priest at the abode of Bambu or Shong- a village deity, to avoid any untoward incident during the festival

The dances are performed only by married women led by the male counterparts

Rituals like ‘Kavouna’, ‘Ritaak Ganmei’ are also performed during the festival wherein the elderly men recite warrior talks, war hymns, etc.

In the afternoon, the male members perform a ritual called ‘Hoigammei’. Armed with spear and dao take, they male members take out a procession chanting Ho Ho in chorus

Interestingly, the festival food is cooked by the new fire produced from wood or bamboo friction (Mailapmei) by the boys of the male dormitory (Khangchu)

Come evening, every household offers a cock to the Supreme God for wellbeing and bountiful harvest.

‘Joupan Keimei’- a ritual of offering holy wine to the Supreme God and village deity including the ancestors is performed for safety, and prosperity


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