Kohima, Aug. 20 : Thousands of Ao Nagas attired in their best traditional finery recently gathered at Kisama, the Naga Heritage Village, 15 kilometres from the State capital Kohima for Tsungremmong festival.
Organised for a good harvest and a better life, Tsungremmong festival belongs to Ao Nagas, the main inhabitants of Mokokchung District.
The festival is a time to celebrate and make merry for both the young and old, as various traditional dances, folk songs and games enthrall the audience. This year too, it was an occasion to celebrate with gaiety for all.
T.Imchen, an elderly person on this occasion, said: "This festival is participated by people regardless of their financial status with equal fervour. All enjoy to their hearts' content."
Tia Jamir, Ao Naga, said: "We, the Ao tribe, used to get together and celebrate this. We meet each other and in that way we co-operate each other in our work. Having this kind of festival draws the people close to each other."
On this occasion, the Ao tribesmen sing and dance to express their gratitude and pray for a good harvest. They make offerings for the blessing of abundance.
Also, the occasion is an opportunity for the youth to narrate amusing stories about the elders in the form of folk songs. . Imtila Jamir, Registrar of the Cooperative Societies, Nagaland, said: "Inspite of all the trouble taking place, I think the people have just pushed themselves forward to get together, create a scene of peace and harmony among us."
The highlight of Tsungremmong, however, is the tug-of-war between two teams of men and women. Interestingly, the men folk deliberately give in to the women.
Rice beer is served in bamboo cups and the celebration is marked with a grand feast following local tradition.
It is believed that the celebrations of festivals like Tsungremmong foster a spirit of unity and peace among the people of the state.
Tsungremmong is usually celebrated on the eve of harvest in August. The unique feature is that the village gate is closed prior to the festival and hence outsiders are not allowed to participate.
The festival is a venue to present one's intellectual and physical abilities. Young folk illustrate the stories of their elders. By Vibou Ganguly