TODAY -

Rih-ngai and Mayasvi festivals of the Zeliangrong and the Tsou
- Part 2 -

Budha Kamei *



Only male members of the village perform the activities of the festival and female members are mere spectators. On the eve of the festival every male member of the Khangchiu, male's dormitory observes Lumthengmei, fasting for the purification of one's body, soul and mind, thereby making oneself fortunate and for every challenges of life say ready for war, hunting, fishing, cultivation etc. In the festival, men do not touch women and also fetch water separately.

"The reason for the males and females bringing water separately during this festival is to begin with this ceremony the making of liquor; and the separate eating and cooking of the sexes to be a mark of respect to their gods." The men kill pigs, take a portion for them and give a portion to women. They cooked them separately with new fire and eat separately.

It is similar to the first day of Gaan Ngai festival, but there is no feasting at the dormitory. In the afternoon of the festival, all male members of the dormitory who are armed with spear and dao will walk in procession (Hoigammei) from one end of the village to the another chanting Ho-hoi in chorus. It is an invocation to God for safety and wellbeing of the village. It starts from the Khangchiu after libation of holy wine to God and presiding deities of the village.

Usually, festival includes rites of competition, which often constitute in the form of games. After the Hoi procession, competitions like long jump (Daan Chammei), stone throwing (Tao Phaimei), wrestling (Naokhemmei) etc. are held at the village jumping ground (Daanshanpung). In these competitions, young men of the dormitory fully take part.

The winners are not given prizes, but they are required to pay Shon (fees) for declaring and acknowledging their power and ability. Before the competition, they will perform the Chong Kapmei (shooting of or spearing of the human effigies made of the plantain tree) at the Raang (village gate).

It is believed that one who hits the head of the effigy will be successful in war and hitting on the chest of the effigy is a good luck in hunting. He who strikes at the belly of the effigy will be blessed with bountiful harvest in the year. R. Brown writes, "An effigy of a man made of plaintain is hung on a tree, and at it they throw pointed bamboos or sticks. Should the javelin strike it on the head, the thrower, it is said, will kill an enemy, but if it lodges in the belly, the thrower is to be blessed with plenty of good."

If any woman, who by mistake, eats or drinks which is meant only for male in this festival, she must joint the Chong Kapmei for forgiveness of what she has committed. In the festival, the elderly men of different clans perform Kabaomei (warrior talks), Ritak Phaimei (throwing of rice, and pork meat at the village gate with war hymns), etc. Unlike the Tsou, no song and dance is performed in the festival.

At the close of the festival, all the young men of the village will march to the Northern village gate with bamboo cups which they used for drinking purpose. And the cup will be split in the middle at one stroke with dao and taken the omen. If one half of the cup turns open and other half turns closed the omen is taken as good. If both the halves turn open or closed simultaneously, the omen is taken as bad. This rite marks the end of the festive activities and the return to the normal spatial and temporal dimensions of daily life.

On the first day of Mayasvi, the warriors of the tribe will rise early, and don their best traditional attire in the Kuba. The tribe chief will lead the warriors downstairs to transfer the sacred fire that burns under the Kuba to a prepared open square located not far from the Kuba, where the fire will burn for two days before extinguish; they gather near the Yono trees, a flora sacred to the Tsous.

Then, a boar will be brought in front of the trees, and with an order from the elders, the male members/warriors will use knives to stab. Then, they will lift their knives stained with boar blood towards the tree leaves, and wipe the blood onto the sacred trees as a sacrifice for the god of war and the god of life. A few warriors will then climb up the sacred trees and repair the foliage.

The sacred trees serve as a stairway for the Tsou god of war and the Tsou god of life during the welcoming ceremony, so after cutting down the branches, three will be left, pointing towards the Kuba and the chief's home symbolizing a road cleared for the gods. The gods will eventually be led to the festival in the Kuba, where they will bless the village.

Under the leadership of the elders, the crowd will hold hands into a semi-circle formation, singing a solemn welcoming god tune. After singing, the men will go onto the Kuba, and the other members will run back to their houses and bring back other offerings like wine, sticky rice cake and boar meat. On their way, they will shout incessantly as a way to report to gods and then come back to the Kuba for more rituals.

In the Kuba, the tribe elders mix up the wine, cakes and meat brought by the warriors together and then the mixture is distributed to every household symbolizing tribal unity. Just before that they will offer wine to the god of war for strength and unity. The most important ceremonies of the unity ritual are the Patkaya and Yasmoyuska- both are rite of passage for the boys in the Tsou culture.

Patkaya introduces newborn boys of the tribe to the residing gods in the Kuba. Usually, presented by a maternal uncle, a baby boy will be introduced to the gods by surrounding warriors who will chant the Tsou victory scripture, the Tu,e followed by blessings from elders with rice wine. Then, teenage boys are brought into the Kuba, where they will be whipped with a vine and presented with their first leather hat from elders. The leader will then lead the now grown up men to the village chief to receive rice wine and encouragement to commemorate their rite of passage. This act symbolizes the passage from a teenager to an adult.

After the rituals in the Kuba, the warriors will walk into the square again, engaging in the sending off ceremony. Everyone will gather in front of the sacred trees again in a semi-circle, singing four songs. In the middle, female members of the tribe will also enter the formation with torches, signifying the unification with the tribal fire and the Kuba's sacred fire. At the end of the song, they will send off the gods through the sacred trees back into the sky. Later on, they will perform a ceremonial cleansing of the village to purge from evils.

At the evening, the elders will lead the tribe members into a dance with all kind of songs, praising the god of war and the heroic deeds of their ancestors. Each clan will also praise and present gift each other, signifying their close ties. The festival usually lasts a period of two days, until the midnight of the last day. All the men attending will chant again their song of gratitude before putting out the fire in the square, which closes the celebration of Mayasvi festival.

Conclusion:

In the distant past, inter-village war was a common occurrence among the tribal peoples. The male members/warriors of the village at the cost of their lives defended the village from enemy's attacks. The practice of head hunting was gone. However, it is preserved in the form of narrative. The war rituals continue without the violence in the Rih-ngai and Mayasvi festivals for prosperity, strength and victory.

It protects and promotes the rich culture and traditions of the peoples. It may be treated as survival of culture. Young members also have the opportunity to learn the historic culture, social ethics and ancestor's wisdom through the process of the festival. Besides, festival serves as a reunion of family members, relatives, and friends.

By participating in the festival, people settle disputes and misunderstandings. Socially, festival promotes peace and unity within the family system and the society as a whole.

Concluded


* Budha Kamei wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on September 13, 2016.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Product @Langbal Keithel #1:: Gallery
  • Death Anniv- Bhagyachandra #3 :: Gallery
  • Written Exam for CDPO postphoned
  • Lamyanba Hijam Irabot :: Read all him..
  • Manipur Assembly Elections 2017 #1
  • Ekai Thabi- Aquatic vegetable cash crop
  • Message to the Meiteis living abroad
  • A Cloud of Dust :: Poem
  • Jobs in IT Cell at C-DAC Silchar
  • Making change to education scenario
  • 107 illegal migrants pushed back
  • Deficit monsoon rains in most of NE
  • Nangna Helli Nungshiba #1 :eRang
  • AIM, Khabam Vs NEROCA FC :: Gallery
  • Yumnam Yaima : Manipuri Sahitya Parishad
  • Langol Watch Tower #5 :: 360 ° View
  • FIR against fmr CM Ibobi in MDS scam
  • Protest demanding justice for Pravish
  • Killing Of Tripura Journalist
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Idiotic stand of making Hindi compulsory
  • September and Hijam Irabot
  • Death Anniv- Bhagyachandra #2 :: Gallery
  • National Repentance Day :: Gallery
  • Chasing Tidal Waves by Lo! Peninsula
  • Volleyball tournament at Chingai, Ukhrul
  • Condemns murder of Shantanu Bhowmik
  • Condemns scribe's murder in Tripura
  • Deep grief over another assassination
  • Suspicious death of missing youth in Noida
  • Protest outside UP Bhawan in Delhi
  • Bigger threat from Bangla immigrants
  • Of war, wine and women
  • A trip to Moreh #1 :: Gallery
  • Death Anniv- Bhagyachandra #1 :: Gallery
  • Breach of Privilege & Contempt of the House
  • Career option in History
  • Cry of a Dying River - 1 :: Poem
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand : Timeline
  • Condemn provocation against Pangal
  • Meetei Demand Of Scheduled Tribe @ Delhi
  • Resolutions adopted by NPF Central HQs
  • TSA-GHQ calls off agitation
  • Diverting filled cylinders from hills
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #6 : Ooba
  • History of Printing in Manipur
  • Hydro Electric Power: A must for Manipur #1
  • Why Total Knee Replacement is necessary
  • Self-styled godmen and mental darkness
  • The Dawn of Knowledge :: Poem
  • Consideration for Govt on UTLA camp attack
  • Bloody Phanek premiere in South Korea
  • Memo to Satywati College against Hindi
  • NE militant in Myanmar may face problem
  • Putting the limelight on O Ibobi
  • Bamboo - our green treasure
  • Jadonang: Indomitable faith of martyrdom
  • 12th Manipur State League #3:: Gallery
  • Cyberbullying
  • British rule in India: blessing or curse?
  • Candle light for Pravish Chanam at Delhi
  • Concern over Cambodia media crackdown
  • Present crisis a blessing for NPF: MLA
  • Medical Camp at Tokpaching, Chandel
  • High promises, high expectations : BJP Govt
  • Traffic regulation still yet be improved
  • Traditional Ritual @Khurkhul #4 :: Gallery
  • Athokpam Tomchou :: Sahityabhusan
  • Kanglasha & Kangla Fort :: 360 ° View
  • Mapithel Dam: Tumukhong village's sorrow
  • Earthen Pots of Thongjao :: Poem
  • Protest Rally at Uchiwa on Pravish's death
  • Three former insurgents killed in Manipur
  • Frisking exercise intensifies along borders
  • Manipur await to deport Rohingya prisoner
  • Culturals @ Pineapple Fest #2 :: Gallery
  • Boisang, Yaronsho, Thangmeiso :: eMing
  • MSL: NISA Vs FC Zalen :: Gallery
  • Fund the Athlete: Support Sumanta Naorem
  • Carbon Sequestration Vs Agroforestry tree
  • PHYNYX changes name & going global
  • NEFIS reaches HM on Pravish death
  • Expecting the expectation
  • Priyogopal : Senior Film Artist :: eRang
  • Ningtham Charei fashion catwalk :: Gallery
  • My Japanlan memoir after 4 score yrs- D
  • Candle light: Justice for Pravish Chanam
  • Science as a Christian vocation
  • Yesterday Today and Tomorrow :: Poem
  • Early Childhood Education Impact Study
  • Condemn the attitude of Noida Police
  • Protest at Noida SSP's office
  • A Child Cannot Decide Its Parent
  • Notification from COHSEM for Class XI
  • Threat to ban movement of non-local
  • Re-defining Mr. Clean perspectives
  • Hathei Phanit @Sirarakhong :: Gallery
  • Education in Manipur- reform & vision
  • Career option in Political Science
  • A Robe of Love :: Poem
  • Memo to CM regarding dead in Noida
  • Meghalaya edition of NH7 Weekender
  • Away from Imphal centric: Govt-Hills Bhai!
  • Panchayat election matters...
  • Reception for CM at CCPur :: Gallery
  • 239th Heikru Hidongba #2 :: Gallery
  • Buddha Said: The More The Govt... #2
  • R & R anomaly in Mapithel dam
  • Letting go :: Poem
  • Bedtime beauty hacks to look young
  • Warepnaba Meefam Saruk Yabiyu
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • Civil Sectt crawling at snail pace
  • Perplexity trends
  • Heitha Leithaba @Kekrupat #2:: Gallery
  • Ningtham Charei :: Fashion Show
  • ISKCON Temple, Imphal #2 :: 360 ° View
  • Remote Villages conditions remain same
  • General Meeting & Social Gathering of EMA
  • Leadership management
  • Karo Sambhav School Program at Tripura
  • Blood Donation Camp at RIMS
  • Another spell of cooking gas shortage
  • Parking paralysis
  • Manipur Univ of Culture #3 :: Gallery
  • Sub Junior Boys Basketball #2 :: Gallery
  • Binalakshmi Nepram: NE Excellence Award
  • Manipuri in Proto-Sino-Tibetan Family
  • Lamka: Urban character with rural admin
  • MUTA Colloquium : 3 decades of teaching
  • IIHEd Seminar : The Rohingya Conundrum
  • Inter Village Volley Ball at Chandel
  • Trafficking story from CCpur
  • Local body election matters
  • Pottery Crafts of Manipur #1 :: Gallery
  • Techniche, IIT Guwahati :: Gallery
  • Anger begets hope & constructive action
  • World's oldest Parliamentarian
  • Convocation of Assam Don Bosco Univ.
  • Times I Live In :: Poem
  • Sadar Hills District Demand: News Timeline
  • Date with Sep 11 : Setting new benchmarks
  • Angaoba Film Scenes #2 :: eRang
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • My Japanlan memoir after 4 score years- C
  • Flood & Ithai Barrage: A brief reflection
  • Indigenous people must be consulted...
  • When a Star Finally Dies :: Poem
  • Job openings at The Rice Company
  • Lesson need to learn from Gouri Lankesh
  • Sumi Hoho calls on Nagaland CM
  • #NeverStop Guwahati: fitness enthusiasts
  • Protests against Myanmar govt
  • Culturals @ Pineapple Fest #1 :: Gallery
  • 12th Manipur State League #1:: Gallery
  • Tete a tete with the Education Minister
  • Freak and frank job interview
  • Buddha Said: The More The Govt... #1
  • Dichtung und Wahrheit :: Poem
  • Protest: Myanmar for persecuting Rohingya
  • Subroto Football under 14 yrs at Delhi
  • Performance anxiety: and its election again
  • Heitha Leithaba @Kekrupat #1:: Gallery
  • Heikru Hidongba Definition: Bijoy Govinda
  • Shri Shri Govindaji Temple #2 :: 360 ° View
  • Era gone with Rishang Keishing demise
  • International Literacy Day, 2017
  • De-notify Disturbed Area tag & repeal AFSPA
  • Waiting for a Good Morrow:: Poem
  • Annual Fresher's Meet, MSAD
  • Clogged waterways: Plastics, plastics...
  • Life is to be lived, not to merely survive
  • State level Teacher's Day :: Gallery
  • MU Inter-College Basketball :: Gallery
  • Half Step Rock signs up PHYNYX, now 'LEN'
  • RIST Talk 31 : metal cholate hydrogels
  • Day 3 at Techniche IIT Guwahati
  • Response to "need male empowerment"
  • Condemns murder of Gauri Lankesh
  • Condemns murder of Bengaluru journalist
  • NPF on impersonation of its President
  • Pre-recruitment Training for Chandel Youth
  • Where are the Ojas in teachers ?
  • Another stunt, but things remain the same
  • Bhoot Ki Thoujal :: Funga Wari
  • 52nd Hunger Marchers' Day #3 :: Gallery
  • Global development agenda & local realities
  • Sita :: Poem
  • Career in Audio/Sound Engineering
  • Education for conflict
  • Bikram's Blog :: 10 Year on Web
  • 7th Pay & the fiscal reality of the State
  • Of Patriot and patriotism
  • 2nd Conclave of NEDA
  • Kang Tournament #2 :: Gallery
  • NE Fashion Week #2 :: Gallery
  • Beauvoir's Second Sex & Maam's teaching
  • Face to Face with Rishang Keishing
  • ...real fact nobody wants to tell naked truth
  • to whom it may concern :: Poem
  • Importance of yoga
  • 'Court Arrest Prog' on Teachers' Day
  • Recruitment drive at Globizs, Imphal
  • JCILPS back after a brief lull
  • Culture of respect
  • 239th Heikru Hidongba #1 :: Gallery
  • Oinam Doren wins award in Italy (Lessinia)
  • For Chester : Tribute Concert :: Gallery
  • Id-ul-Zuha @ Hatta, Minuthong :: Gallery
  • Tribute to Rishang Keishing #3 :: Gallery
  • Heikru Hidongba
  • Result: 3rd Imphal National Photo contest
  • Haipou Jadonang day :: Gallery
  • Sub-Junior Football for NE :: Gallery
  • Xth Pineapple Fest @CCpur :: Gallery
  • L Devendro : O Bembem :: Arjuna Awards
  • Ige KNliye kabita Ama :: Seireng
  • Karong Children home wash away:: Gallery
  • State bids adieu to Rishang :: Gallery
  • Rishang Keishing : A profile
  • Tribute to Rishang Keishing #2 :: Gallery
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • Nungbi Khullen, Ukhrul #2 :: Gallery
  • Landscape of Ukhrul District #2:: Gallery
  • Landscape of Manipur #7: Wallpaper
  • Featured Photo for 2017 #3 :: Gallery
  • SPONSORED ADS