TODAY -

Socio-cultural significance of Gudui-Ngai

Dr Budha Kamei *

  Gudui Ngai, Zeliangrong festival , celebration at Majorkhul Rongmei village on 7th May 2017
Gudui Ngai, Zeliangrong festival , celebration at Majorkhul Rongmei village on 7th May 2017 :: Pix - Daniel Chabungbam



Northeast is the home of different ethnic groups. These ethnic groups have their distinct cultures and traditions which handed down from one generation to the next through oral traditions. The Zeliangrongs are one of them spreading in three states of Assam, Manipur and Nagaland. In Manipur they are found settled mainly in Tamenglong and Noney districts. In the valley they are found scattered in Imphal East and West, Thoubal and Bishnupur districts.

The paper is an attempt to look into the Gudui festival of Zeliangrongs and its socio-cultural significance. Culture can be preserved when the religion of the community survives. Culture is a vehicle of religion. Culture and religion are inseparable in Zeliangrong religion known as Tingkao Ragwang Chapriak (for short TRC).

Festivals are times of "worship and prayer to Almighty God for plenty and welfare and celebration for them." The social and cultural values, the aesthetic and creativity are expressed through dances, songs and music. In a year the Zeliangrong people celebrate nine festivals at different stages of agricultural operations according to lunar calendar with festive spirit and prayer.

The Tingkao Ragwang Chapriak is sustained by their colorful festivals accompanied by religious rites and prayers, dance and music and feasting during different months of a year. The ancient/antique religion is based on rituals; it is collective in nature and modern religion is individualistic.

Gudui-ngai also known as Maleng-ngai is a popular ritual festival of Zeliangrongs. It is a festival of worship of Tingkao Ragwang, the Supreme God for bountiful cultivation. They celebrate the festival on the 13th day of Guduibu (which falls in May every year) for one day after completing the seed sowing.

In the early morning of the festival, every household of the village performs a ritual called Malengkeimeil Tingbankmei, offering of Zou-ngao (rice-beer) and Gutam (crushed ginger) to Tingkao Ragwang and Kangdailu, rice goddess with relevant religious hymn. It is performed at the courtyard by the head of the family or an elder of Pei, village council who officiates as priest.

Napkao, calling of paddy is also performed in every household by sacrificing a big and beautiful cock to Tingkao Ragwang. The leg of the victim is observed carefully in search of good omen and it is followed by offering of holy wine (Zoupan keintei) to Tingkao Ragwang, Tingmei Jangmei, Kairao (ancestors) and Para (evil spirits) for wellbeing and prosperity of the family.

Here, it may be noted that evil spirits are not worshipped, but they are propitiated not to give trouble to men. The intestine of the victim (Loirei) is taken out and hung outside the wall near the main door of the house. It is done in the belief that Kangdailu distributes paddy (Nap) when she sees Loirei hanging. In short, the aim of Gudui-ngai is to offer prayer for warding off diseases which may fall on the paddy plants.

It is believed that Gu, ginger represents the toes and fingers of formless Creator, Tingkao Ragwang. They use ginger in important ritual worships and sometimes to ward off evil forces (Rasi-rarou). In Maleng-ngai, ginger soup mixed with chicken meat is served to every member of the family for good health and long life.

It also signifies the deliverance of life from hunger during scarcity or famine. In the afternoon, members of the Bachelors' dormitory organize entertainment programme in which there is a Duidom Phaimei (throwing of the water put in a plantain leaf container) among the boys and girls (Tuna Gaan) followed by Loijaimei, (pulling of rope) tug of war between boys and girls, males and females as a symbolic representation of competition between gods and goddesses for possessing the paddy.

It is usually performed at the Danshanpung, village jumping ground and girls ritually win the game, for there would be good yield in the year. According to TC Hudson, there is a festival in the month of May in which the girls have a tug of war against the boys in order to take the omens for the future of the crops.

In the evening, elderly men will sing Katu, an agricultural ritual song by marching from one end of the village to the other end for plentiful harvest in the year. It starts from the Khangchu (Bachelor's dormitory) and returns at the same place. On the next day of the festival, a complete Genna locally recognized as Dikap-neih is observed abstaining from earth or muddy work; (Di means Mother Earth and Kap, cry).

It is believed that Mother Earth (Apui kandi) cries in agony as men burnt the forest for jhum cultivation; all creatures and insects were also killed by fire. In this faith, they strictly observe Neihmei to give relief to the Mother Earth. The term Genna comes from the Angami word Kenna meaning prayer.

Neihmei is the collective form of worship of Tingkao Ragwang, the Supreme God by the whole village community or individual families abstaining from physical work on the occasion of the beginning of various agricultural operations. During Neihmei, no one is permitted to go beyond the village gate and no outsider inside the village. Everyone does abstain from breaking it because of the fear of evil consequences flowing from the will of a divinity.

Colonel McCulloch remarks of the Zeliangrong that "A whole village or individual members of it are often 'Neina' or under prohibition. Sometimes this state of things lasts a day, sometimes several. The 'Neina' may be against the entrance of strangers or the exit of members, or of both, or allowing the entrance of strangers, disallow their going into houses, etc."

To Nagas, a genna is a community worship of God. The purposes of Gennas are to avert epidemics, natural calamities/misfortune circumstances and restoration of prosperity. According to M Horam, gennas are compulsory rest days, mass abstention of work at the height of the agricultural season, sacrifices and prayers, all have the same and single aim, that of plentiful harvests.

On this day of Dikap-nei, people worship Mother Earth for the fertility of the soil and fruitful cultivation. To conclude, one can say that festival is part and parcel of the Zeliangrong people. Festival is a unique cultural phenomenon, a form of aesthetic expression of the Zeliangrong religion and philosophy. It is an essence of the Zeliangrong culture.

In the celebration, they offer sacrifice to Tingkao Ragwang and Kangdailu for fruitful cultivation in the coming year. They also respect and honour the Mother earth. Festival creates an atmosphere of peace among the participants and finally settles the differences. The young boys also have the opportunity to express their love to girls. Thus, festivals unite not only the family members, but also the community as a whole.


* Dr Budha Kamei wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be reached at budhakamei(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on May 16, 2019.



* 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
  • How does the full moon make waves...
  • COVID-19 Status 29 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Legalising production & sale of liquor
  • RKCS Children's Painting Competition
  • Online Essay Competition
  • Significance of World Heart Day 2022
  • A kind of feeling :: Poem
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Free rice and plight of state's farmers
  • Lifting prohibition after 3 decades
  • Linthoi Chanambam : First Judo Gold Medalist
  • COVID-19 Status 28 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2022 #4: Gallery
  • Sore Admiration :: Poem
  • Accountant Assistant @ Amber & Arthur
  • World Heart Day 2022
  • Indo-Naga Talks (2012-) :: News Timeline
  • Plastic menace: Time over for warning
  • Promoting cycling in Imphal
  • Mera Chaorel Houba @ Kangla #1 :: Gallery
  • Tripura Fashion Week @ Agartala :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 27 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • ST status demands in India #2
  • Socio-cultural tourism in NE India
  • Investigation against CRPF Personal
  • Backache in diabetics: Never ignore it
  • 'Poison' liquor still favourite for commoners
  • What has happened to the ban on SUP ?
  • Maibi Jagoi @ Thangjing Haraoba :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 26 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Lamyanba Irabot Ningsing Tha : Plantation
  • World Pharmacists Day 2022
  • Workshop of Wildlife Crime Prevention
  • Genius is knowing when to stop !
  • Naga final pact as Nagaland polls near
  • Lifting prohibition : Talk of the day
  • Tarpon Chaklen Katpa @ Andro #1 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 25 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Lamyanba Irabot Ningsing Tha : Fingerlings
  • Tripura Fashion Week in Agartala
  • World River Day & our environment
  • Nubank : banking industry in Brazil
  • Opposition parties struggling to dent BJP
  • From High Court to Supreme Court ?
  • Lokchao Bridge @ NH 102 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 24 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • What were Phizo's last words to Khodao?
  • Priyadarshini, Priyanka: Everest Taekwondo
  • I swear :: Poem
  • Incomplete lifting of prohibition
  • Prevention of parasitism in livestock #2
  • Wakhal Eronba- Sumang Leela #1 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 23 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Arbin Tonjam: best designer - Miss Manipur
  • Lamyanba Irabot Ningsing Tha at Ithing
  • Ferry to Ganges :: Poem
  • Making public health messaging entertaining
  • Student schooling order exposes fault...
  • Discipline : The common thread
  • Camping @ Shirui Lily Fest #1 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 22 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Youth : An idea can change the world
  • Perceived class conflict triggers friction ...
  • The tale of a forgotten diary
  • Face Redness- How to get rid of it
  • CADA - Govt on collision course
  • Inching towards a final pact ?
  • Border Pillar Inspection @Kamjong :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 21 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Strange bed fellows attempting to cohabit
  • Training for entrepreneur in Food Processing
  • Recalling Alzheimer once again !
  • New Education Policy : The CUET rigmarole
  • Liquor for better health! Indigestible
  • Now focus on ST demand
  • Byron Aihara - A True Lover of Manipur
  • International Day of Peace 2022
  • Human Capital Formation, need of the hour
  • Prevention is better than cure !!
  • Prevention of parasitism in livestock #1
  • Security Conference at Tamenglong
  • Concrete action must follow 'CM Da Haisi'
  • Tag of a dry State for the last 30 years
  • Pungyam Yeiba Fest @Singjamei :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 19 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • National Bamboo Innovation Challenge
  • International Day of Peace & environment
  • Lamyanba Irabot Ningsing Tha: Social Service
  • World Bamboo Day celebrated
  • Domestic capitalists unwilling to trust & invest
  • Street food vogue boon for youth
  • Sit-ins demanding inclusion in ST list
  • Down Memory Lane: My Years with MSAD #3
  • COVID-19 Status 18 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Licypriya to attend UN General Assembly
  • Screenwriters invited to 6-month screenlab
  • An ideal civil servant
  • Tripura Fashion Week in Agartala
  • Opposition parties struggling to dent BJP
  • Taking the customer for granted
  • Miss Manipur 2022 #2 :: Gallery
  • Irabot Ningsing Tha : Jagoi Competition
  • Bringing drug users to mainstream society
  • Namo Birthday special: India matters globally
  • Criticizes village occupation in Ukhrul
  • Use of local agri wastes as substrate
  • Jiribam Keithel [15 June] #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 16 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Boeing University Innovation Leadership
  • ST status demands in India #1
  • Literacy enhancement as a career choice
  • Agniveer recruitment rally at Assam
  • Ignoring the perfect solution to everything
  • Eyeing to end insurgency in next 5 years
  • Laklaroi Amuk Hanna Yeningtha #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 15 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Manipuri Muslim (Pangal) Historical Society
  • 7th election: NE Student Org, Jalandhar
  • Macnivil releases new song: Price they'll pay
  • Youth advocating for sexual health & rights
  • Engineers : The backbone of any Nation
  • IBSD celebrated Hindi Diwas
  • Who is at fault for shrinking roads?
  • After 25 years of negotiations
  • Heikru Hidongba @Bijoy Govinda #2: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 14 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Joint Accordant by NSCN/GPRN & NNPGs
  • In search of Khubak Ishei
  • Lamyanba Irabot Ningsing Tha at Bishnupur
  • Beauty benefits of Amla
  • STDCM sets sight on bandh to draw Govt
  • The unplanned city of Imphal Concrete jungle
  • Down Memory Lane: My Years with MSAD #2
  • COVID-19 Status 13 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Constitution & flag still dogs settlement
  • Churachandpur - The chaos and mess !
  • Rice Afrika is using tech to increase rice
  • Voluntary Blood Donation: An act of solidarity
  • Nagaland desperate for solution to Naga issue
  • Final solution likely very soon: Note key word
  • Miss Manipur 2022 #1 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 12 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Is there a need for another Nupi Lan ?
  • Consultation: Development at Lairouching
  • Bullying : Losing of children's dignity
  • Social Entrepreneur, social currency they earn
  • AMSU in dire need of support of CSOs
  • Mum on the points of JCILPS, STDCM
  • 57th Hunger Marchers' Day #3 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 11 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • 1st Anniv: The Keithel Store Pune :: Gallery
  • Beyond Teachers' Day
  • On farm production of Mycorrhizae
  • Onam and the legend behind it
  • COVID-19 Status 10 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Fake voters testify official nepotism
  • From 1999 to 2022 : TSE is now 23
  • Yaoshang Thabal Competition #3 :: Gallery
  • Kholao Deben went with the Queen
  • Imaginary grudge severs human relations
  • A Phenomenally Him :: Poem
  • Bharat Jodo Yatra: Last ditch effort...
  • Special Lok Adalat for Imphal & Bishnupur
  • Pineapple Fest @Bunglon, CCpur :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 09 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Tarpon: Annual offerings to the dead by living
  • Book review: Aeromycology over Kachai lemon
  • On saying Hello
  • Himalayan Day celebrated at IBSD, Imphal
  • Get rid of strawberry legs at home
  • Manipuri driver primary source of 'Loyalty tax'
  • The 'tax-extortion' argument
  • Down Memory Lane: My Years with MSAD #1
  • COVID-19 Status 08 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • [Jobs] Biotechnology ignition grant for NE
  • 1st Anniversary of The Keithel Store Pune
  • International Literacy Day & our Environment
  • 1 Lakh Hand Sanitizer Bottles handed over
  • Pinning hope on Sangai fest to draw tourists
  • Points to study from Mizoram
  • Heikru Hidongba @Bijoy Govinda #1: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 07 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Schedule Tribe Demand, Recent cries
  • Intricacies of core issue in Naga insurgency
  • On Poiroukhongjin High School issue
  • Celebrating International Literacy Day, 2022
  • Condemn physical assault on women vendor
  • Scoundrel official undermining essence of ILP
  • Is the ban on SUP effective ?
  • Ayekpam Shyamsunder's life & works
  • Book release: 'Osman Thambal' at Imphal
  • World Sexual Health Day celebrated in NE
  • Manipur Tech Univ: top at India Hackathon
  • Insomnia :: Poem
  • Change - Inside Out!
  • Biological control in agriculture #2
  • Nearest-to-home posting of teachers policy
  • Addressing shortage of teachers
  • Ibudhou Thangjing Haraoba #6 :: Gallery
  • Ancient Manipur kingdom and Brahmanism
  • Teachers' role in multicultural North East
  • Regarding closing 34 Assam govt schools
  • mPharma is revolutioning access to medicine
  • Asking to believe as we receive
  • 10 years of TPC: Success collectively shared
  • Significance of observing Teachers' Day
  • Krishna Janma @ ISKCON :: Gallery
  • Growing support globally to end HIV medicine
  • Teachers' Day & My Rumbling Thoughts
  • Soibam Bindeshori : Indian Prime Icon Award
  • Can't public figures drink & dance
  • Climate emergency
  • Jumping ship trademark of state's politicians
  • Switching side from JD (U) to BJP
  • Sit-in for Meetei ST @ Kongba :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 03 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Humanitarian aid to Meira Paibis leaders
  • Down the memory lane :: Poem
  • A moment of introspection
  • Ganesh collection
  • Addl Director General, NCC homage at INA
  • Meira Rally against Drug Traffic #2 :: Gallery
  • September Calendar for Year 2022 : Tools
  • Haipou Jadonnang in History #2
  • Krishna, soul of Indian classical dance
  • Biological control in agriculture #1
  • Additional Director General, NCC, NE
  • Senapati farmers commit to curb poppy
  • School Fagathansi & shortage of teachers
  • 57th Hunger Marchers' Day #2 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 01 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Is NSCN-IM looking for a way to exit...
  • Delhi Youtuber honoured by Nagaland Govt
  • Multistoried cropping system for North East
  • Herbal remedies for sun-tan in monsoon
  • Agniveer Recruitment Rally for Manipur
  • Improve irrigation network
  • Pending final pact, ST demand, prohibition
  • Reception of Linthoi Chanambam :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 31 August : Govt of Manipur
  • Applications from sportspersons for awards
  • Faith in the Lord: The evidence of things
  • Aadhaar link with Voter ID should be optional
  • Session with Jail Officials & Inmate at Sajiwa
  • Scam related to job & educational opportunity
  • Widening list of drug dealers
  • Understanding the idea of CUET
  • Jiribam Train station [15 Jun] :: Gallery
  • Haipou Jadonang martyr day at Jiribam
  • How citizens evaluate performance of MLA
  • Daslakshan Festival
  • All you needed was a little more courage
  • National Sports Day in Tamenglong
  • Bid to promote state's largest cottage industry
  • On lending support and entrepreneurship
  • Haipou Jadonang - Martyr Day :: Gallery
  • Linthoi and Manipur Olympics
  • Linthoi Ch: gold at World Cadet Judo
  • Patriots' Day @Thangal Complex :: Gallery
  • Jhulon Festival: Nupee Pala #2 :: Gallery
  • 13 August observed by CSOs :: Gallery
  • Mirabai Chanu: gold @ Commonwealth Game
  • Rules of English Pronunciation : Download
  • Sub-Syllables in English : Book Download