Lui-ngai-ni: The Naga Seed Sowing Festival
Ts. Warngam Anal *
Lui-Ngai-Ni celebrated at Tamenglong district headquarters in Feb 2014 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam/
A people has a culture, a way of life and world view with which they lead their social life. The unique identity of each people is derived from their culture. The phenomenal cultural diversity of the Nagas lends colour to their collective identity.
In all there are about forty odd tribes in India that constitute the Naga society and out of these, sixteen are in the state of Manipur. They are
o Chiru and
The Naga tribes celebrate every important events of their life with festivals. Out of the many festivals that are celebrated, there are those which are uncommon in significance, manner and season. But the SEED sowing festival is celebrated by all Naga tribes almost simultaneously during the onset of spring to signify the propitious time for the SOWING of SEEDS.
During this festival, the gods are invoked for blessing on the seeds of crops so that they yield bounteous harvest that would ensure the general well-being of the people. The blessings of the Almighty is beseeched with expressions of dances, songs, and rituals.
Having consolidated the concept of the Naga Seed Sowing Festival after a great deal of studies and consultations and christened "Lui-Ngai-ni" in the year 1986, its celebration was given a collective shape in the year 1987.
Nagas have since been celebrating it on 15th February in one of the Naga districts by rotation, under the aegis of the United Naga Council.
In recognition of the Naga identity and culture, the festival has been declared a State holiday and the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India has also listed "Lui-Ngai-Ni" in 1997 as one of the tourist festivals of India.
Like many other indigenous people of the world, the Nagas have no written records of their history, customs, traditions, legends, beliefs and values and these were passed on through oral and visual traditions in the forms of songs, dances, story-telling, rites & rituals, wood carvings, festival, megaliths etc.
The written history and narration available today therefore do not adequately reflect the pristine wisdoms of their ancestors. To rekindle their glorious traditions and values of the past for posterity and to preserve their unique identity, the celebration of "Lui-Ngai-Ni" through their dances, songs and rituals in today's context is of great social significance.
The act of sowing of seeds is central to the culture of the Naga people and continues to be the fundamental element in their intra and inter community relationships and also of their world view.
This year Lui-Ngai-Ni is being celebrated at Tahamzam(Senapati) District head quarters with the theme "Sowing goodwill,reaping understanding". As in other years, Lui-Ngai-Ni will renew the sowing of the seeds of fraternity and love within the Naga family and of mutual respect with their neighbours.
The festival will once again reaffirm the wisdom filled values of their forefathers as the Nagas commit themselves to changes of improvement, progress and development in their collective lives and usher in an era of harmony, prosperity and good will.
* Ts. Warngam Anal wrote this articlee for Hueiyen Lanpao
This article was posted on January 16, 2015.
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