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
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
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