TODAY -

Tokhu Emong: The Post Harvest Festival of Lotha Naga Community in Nagaland

Y. Mhonchumo Humtsoe *



Often known as “The Switzerland of the North East” Nagaland is a small mountainous terrain state gracefully ensconced in the far North-Eastern part of India. Nagaland is home to many different tribes and sub tribes with each tribes celebrating their festivals at different times throughout the year. Each tribes have slightly distinct traits and character from one another whether it be food habits, costume, customs, language and dressing sense.

Nagaland is also popularly known as a land of festival. There is a plethora of festivals being celebrated in Nagaland. And of all the important festivals in Nagaland, Tokhu Emong festival is the premier festival celebrated by the Lotha Naga tribe. Tokhu Emong festival is a post-harvest festival celebrated with much pomp and gaiety.

With the harvest gets over and the granaries are full, the people of all sorts are now huddled together taking rest from the toils and sweat and settle down to relish the fruits of hard labour. In those days, it is celebrated for over 9 consecutive days. However, with the change of time and the necessity to have a uniformity among the community, the Lotha elders decided to fixed a date and they fixed it on November 7.

Henceforth, Tokhu Emong festival is celebrated every year on November 7. On this auspicious occasion the whole community takes part in the celebration. During this time, every household prepared food and drinks for a grant feast. Near and dear ones, neighbours, families are invited to have a feast together during this time. The celebration is followed by traditional songs, dances, feast, fun and frolic.

During the festival, men, women, children are clad with their beautiful traditional attires. Nicely prepared sticky rice with pieces of meat is exchanged with neighbours and close relative during the festival. In olden days, the number of cooked pieces of meat given to neighbours, relative or friends will denote the amount of depth of the friendship.

For instance, if one man offers 12 pieces of meat to his friend, it shows that he treasures his friendship, if it is reciprocated, and he is also offered 12 pieces of meat, it means that the friendship is valued from both sides. The Priest (Pvuti) usually initiates the commencement of the festival after following several rituals.

However, before the start of the festival, if any unknown person came to the village, that person have to either leave the village before the sunset or to stay in the village until the festival is over. However, he received the warm hospitality of the village.

This festival also provides as an occasion to offer requiem for the departed souls. This is also the opportune time for the prospect boys and girls to be betrothed during the year and happily wedlock after the festival. During this festival, the villagers will decorate their village gate, cleaning the village water wells and beautify their homes.

Tokhu Emong festival is also the time of thanks giving and also the time of reconciliation. During this festival the past hatred and animosity are forgiven and forgotten and new friendship ties of closer bonds are once again reconciled in good faith.

Tokhu Emong aslo signifies ending of all bitterness and strengthening the familial and social bonding. It is also a celebration of unity and gratitude. During the celebration time, the village elders performed wild cries and yodel to express their euphoria after the harvest is being done.

For the Lotha Naga community, of all the festivals, the agricultural festivals are considered the most important. These festivals are primarily celebrated to propitiate God for bountiful harvest. There are two main festivals celebrated by the Lotha Naga tribe namely the Pikhuchak Emong (this means the marking of the beginning of the year) and the Tokhu Emong (the marking of the end of the year).

As per the traditions of the fore-fathers, the Pihkuchak festival opens up the new year and closed the year with the festival of Tokhu Emong celebration.

In Lotha parlance “Tokhu” means feast (eating food, drinking and merrymaking) moving from house to house, collecting tokens and gifts in the form of natural resources and food. And the meaning of “Emong” is to put a halt for the appointed time. It literally means a day of celebration after a strenuous yearlong schedule of hard work. It is an annual festival which usually lasts for nine days.

During the celebration, pieces of meat is also distributed to the families and relatives where death had unfortunately happened during the year. This ritual is being done to set the dead soul free. During the festival time, everyone irrespective of gender, rich or poor come out bedecked in full traditional attire to participate in the celebration. Men folk join in singing and dancing while women folk too accompany the male folks.

Tokhu Emong marks a joyous occasion, where past events of antagonism are forgiven and forgotten, broken ties are reconciled, and close relationship are built once again as they celebrate the festival. When all the harvested products have brought home safely, the Priest (Pvuti) will perform a ceremony in front of their house to signify the end of the year and the ushering in of the New Year.

Thereafter, the young men gather in the premises of the bachelor’s dormitory and announce the commencement of New Year to the entire village. From this day onwards till the end of Tokhu Emong, no outsider is allowed to enter the village and no one is allowed to leave the village on any purpose.

Thus, Tokhu Emong celebration is marked by preparing sumptuous delicacies and inviting all near and dear ones, friends and relatives for grant feast, where all people enjoy to the extreme by dining, singing and dancing together.

In today’s time, there is also a trend of exchanging gifts of food and drinks as a token of love and friendship. It is a festival enjoy by the whole community praising God for His abundant blessings. The celebration of Tokhu Emong festival ascribes a candid exploration of the Lotha Naga culture and heritage.


* Y. Mhonchumo Humtsoe wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is doing Post Graduate Program, (International Relations) North East Christian University: Nagaland; Dimapur.
and can be contacted at ymhonchumo(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on November 07 2023.



* 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
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #3
  • Violence in Manipur 2023-2024 : Timeline
  • Reviving Lamphelpat : Conservation : Gallery
  • Commemorate Naga Plesbicite Day 1951 #1
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Hojai
  • The Power of Poppy - 32 :: Poem
  • Insights from CUET-UG Counselling
  • International Day for Biological Diversity
  • Unseen force at work: Time to unravel it
  • Sheikh Hasina's revelation
  • The Vanishing Meitei Tribe
  • Building career in defence & strategic study
  • Why example of model code of conduct ?
  • Ownership of responsibility
  • Will pressure mount on key players in NE
  • How to save your foot after an accident
  • Children Camp @JNMDA Imphal #3 : Gallery
  • Education Fair @Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • Project Associate @ CSE, Assam Univ
  • Understanding schizophrenia
  • Advancement in Multi Objective Optimization
  • When will women in voter list increase ?
  • Making 2 plus 2 is equal to 5
  • Changing face of drug menace
  • Scientist of Manipur: Jayanta Manoharmayum
  • 25 yrs since Atal Vajpayee visit to RIMS
  • 4 Lakhs donated to support (L) Maipak Family
  • Clarification: Guwahati Meet on Humanitarian
  • Start UPSC prep after 12th for success
  • Tips to avoid melting makeup in summer
  • Giving a big solid push to ST demand
  • Time to come clean
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba: 1 occasion, 2 narratives #3
  • Khongjom Day @Khebaching #2 : Gallery
  • A year of hostilities
  • Licypriya Kangujam to travel to Italy
  • Declining moral standards in public life
  • Healthy democracy with independent media
  • Why endangered species matter to us
  • Significant Guwahati meeting : 1st visible step
  • The Pallel story
  • Aftermath of ferocious hailstorm #2 : Gallery
  • Ukhrul: Climate change grip on water supply
  • Commemoration of World Eld's Deer Day
  • Indo-Naga Talks (From 2012) :: Timeline
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Hiyanglam
  • Dance of democracy, a miracle in making !
  • Learn to look 10/20/30 years hence
  • The zero FIR, zero lesson
  • 'Ishanou' Selection @ Cannes #1: Gallery
  • MOU signed: MTI-HUB & KIIT-TBI & SAbF
  • Lament of the Mourning Choir :: Poem
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Wabagai
  • RSS-BJP fracas
  • Trials for Canoe Slalom World Cup
  • Poser from a villager says it all Kamjong
  • The cover-up effort
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #2
  • Manipuri women in the arena of politics
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Assam
  • Aimee Baruah at red carpet of Cannes
  • National Defence Academy Exam 2024
  • How digital media changed communications
  • Manipur stands scandalised
  • All eyes on UP battle
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #32: Download
  • Riots to a shrine- Ram Mandir of Ayodhya
  • Handle with care. F.R.I.E.N.D.S inside!
  • The Power of Poppy - 31 :: Poem
  • Celebrate the journey !
  • Career counselling : A life guidance tool
  • Scientist of Manipur: Amom Ruhikanta
  • Conspiracy, thy name is Kuki !
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Thounaojam
  • Ket Meth New Album "Ghost Stories"
  • World Hypertension Day
  • International Day of Families
  • Let the rule of law prevail
  • When donation becomes obligatory demand
  • Tourism of Manipur through Gastronomy
  • Beyond Eternity :: Poem
  • Patriarch subjugation on women
  • Celebrate Manipuri Cinema shine at Cannes
  • Training on cultivation of various mushroom
  • Transformative impact of Ayurveda & Yoga
  • War for over a year : Delhi is answerable
  • The logic behind illogical chargesheet
  • Preserving Thang-Ta :: Rare Photos
  • Regarding Human Rights Situation in Manipur
  • World Hypertension Day 2024
  • Article 355 of Constitution of India #3
  • Disinformation campaign touba thengnarey
  • Deeply mourn the demise of Oja Biren Lamba
  • Water Mimosa for sustainable development
  • Publicity drives of educational institutions
  • ED's revolutionary move!!!
  • Malemnganbi Laishram : Science Topper
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2024 #2: Gallery
  • Thokchom Sheityajit : Arts Topper
  • Aiena Naorem : Commerce Topper
  • AISSE 2024 Exam Result- RKM Imphal
  • Gold, new world currency !
  • Milk for hair and skin
  • Of illegal immigrants & the larger picture
  • The missive from Kamjong
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Science Topper
  • HSE 2024 : Subject Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2024 : District Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2024 : Candidates with Highest Marks
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Science Full Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Arts Full Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Commerce Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Arts Topper
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Commerce Topper
  • Sezo Ringa- Debut Music Video "Revival"
  • Journalism - A thrilling career #2
  • After Class XII where? The eternal question
  • Entry of Arvind Kejriwal
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #1
  • Our nurses, our future: Power of care
  • Screenplay Writing course concluded
  • Workshop on IP & Patent Filing held
  • Let there be less Politics in Sports
  • Sam Pitroda is absolutely white
  • Motherhood: Soul & spirit of family & society
  • Time has come to criminalise ecocide
  • Meiteis, a disappearing community in Manipur
  • World Bamboo Congress @Taiwan : Gallery
  • Ima Manipur should smile more
  • 2nd National Lok Adalat at High Court
  • The Power of Poppy - 30 :: Poem
  • Army impact on Tamphasana Wushu odyssey
  • Aftermath of ferocious hailstorm #1 : Gallery
  • "Dynamic library service" :: Book Rvw
  • Radio E-pao: Manipuri Film OST (130+ song)
  • Artificial Intelligence & Environment
  • Article 355 of Constitution of India #2
  • Integrated Farming Systems for farmers #4
  • Delhi's stand after 1 year of clash
  • A new type of terrorism
  • Scientist of Manipur: Waikhom Vishwanath
  • SRF, JRF, RA @ Assam University
  • The Bleeding River :: Poem
  • Executive Meeting of WMC Assam Unit
  • Journalism - A thrilling career #1
  • Raising the call to replace Minister
  • A storm in a political teacup
  • Cheirao-chingkaba @ Chinga : Gallery
  • Happy Mother's Day
  • Empowering hill communities via U-Mangra
  • African Swine Fever
  • Free Training on Mushroom at Nagamapal
  • Harshit Dhingaun recieves award from Korea
  • Look for ways to restore normalcy
  • The danger of last kicks of a dying horse
  • Preserving Thang-Ta traditions
  • Resolving ST issue by democratic process
  • Top 5 songs to awaken your inner patriot
  • Project Assistant @ Manipur University
  • Leishemba Sanajaoba conferred Doctorate
  • Double tragedy: No time for red-tapism
  • A Youtuber called Dhruv
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing : Full Book
  • 174th Anniv Maharaj Narasingh #2 : Gallery
  • Challenges in Healthcare in rural Manipur
  • A salute to leadership quality of PM Modi
  • Career in press for freedom of expression
  • One day after devastating hailstorm
  • Understanding the suffering of others
  • A ferocious hailstorm @Imphal : Gallery
  • Article 355 of Constitution of India #1
  • Integrated Farming Systems for farmers #3
  • Election gossip & rumours
  • 'Melodic Minds' Tour in Guwahati
  • Leaving a trail of destruction
  • Political see-saw
  • A brand-new Scientific discovery
  • In memoriam of the happiness we shared !
  • Crop/animal for higher productivity in NE #5
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Sekmaijin
  • Oh Motherland :: Poem
  • Animal life should be treated with dignity
  • '365 Days of Chin-Kuki Aggression' : Gallery
  • Renaissance of politics in our youth
  • TB & tobacco co-epidemics in Indonesia
  • The Power of Poppy - 29 :: Poem
  • Advanced Charging Infrastructure in NE
  • Lessons learnt in the last one year
  • True colour of politics
  • World Heritage Day @ MU : Gallery
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Kakwa
  • Joint Combing Operations in Jiribam
  • Reboot PSUs for jobs: Task for new Govt
  • Ayurvedic remedies to keep healthy eyes
  • May 3, 2023 to May 3, 2024
  • One year of crisis, and what next ?
  • Scientist of Manipur: Nongmaithem Rajmuhon
  • Whither social justice & work for women?
  • Taiwan to enhancing economic ties with India
  • Integrated Farming Systems for farmers #2
  • Athoubasingi Numit #2 : Gallery
  • Privilege trap of While Male Meitei
  • Crop/animal for higher productivity in NE #4
  • 'Chizami Model' working in Gujarat ?
  • Racing towards the one year mark
  • On misattribution & falsifying history
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #15 :: Book
  • May Calendar for Year 2024 : Tools
  • 12th World Bamboo Congress at Taiwan
  • Complex dance of democracy in Manipur
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Pangaltabi
  • Integrated Farming Systems for farmers #1
  • Showing ugly face of muscle power
  • Spare the rod, spoil the monster
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #31: Download
  • Socio-Historical analysis on Ethnic Conflict
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Langmeidong
  • Ngangbam Dipapati- Gold @European Cup
  • Crop/animal for higher productivity in NE #3
  • Fresh surge in violence
  • The real culprit
  • National Science Teacher workshop
  • Livelihood Disaster in Mapithel Region
  • Scientists of Manipur : Laishram Ladu Singh
  • Imphal Ring Road Project to Transform
  • Lok Sabha polls in Manipur #2 : Gallery
  • The Happiness Code : Download
  • NH-2 Bridge bombed @Sapermeina : Gallery
  • Khongjom Day @Khebaching #1 : Gallery
  • Id-ul-Fitr @Hatta #2 : Gallery
  • Workshop @ NSU Manipur : Gallery
  • 174th Anniv Maharaj Narasingh #1 : Gallery
  • Lok Sabha polls in Manipur #1 : Gallery
  • Children Camp @JNMDA Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #2 : Gallery
  • Scientists of Manipur : Laitonjam Warjeet
  • Community seed bank @Umathel : Gallery
  • Athoubasingi Numit #1 : Gallery
  • Scientists of Manipur : Ngangkham Nimai
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #1 : Gallery
  • Kenedy Khuman (Singer) : Gallery
  • Students @ Class X Exam : Gallery
  • GHOST of PEACE :: Download Booklet
  • List of Kings of Manipur: 33 - 1984 AD