Yemshe is a harvest festival that is celebrated in the capital city of Kohima that is situated in Nagaland. The festival is celebrated primarily by the Pochuri tribe as a harvest festival. The celebrations begin well in advance for the fiesta and people hope and pray for a good harvest year after the celebration. One of the heartiest festivals of Nagaland, Yemshe festival keeps people waiting for the whole year in order to celebrate the festival to the fullest.
Yemshe is celebrated by the Pochuri tribe which was formed after the integration of three native tribes: Khuri, Kupo, and Kuchu. The Pochuri tribe has always been involved in farming, fishing, and animal husbandry.
The festival begins in the last week of September and is celebrated till the first week of October. Families begin harvesting together after the festival is over. The Yemshe festival is divided into two parts - one is the Big Yemshe and the other is the small Yemshe. During the first one, families come together and engage with each other, while in the latter one they perform individual ceremonies, rituals, purify their house and pray for a good harvest.
Traditional folk dances, rituals, and customs are performed by the people of the Pochuri Naga tribe as a mark of good omen. As per another tradition, the family of the head of a village hosts a gathering wherein they distribute paddy rice and prepare Bamboo mugs for the guests. Guests come with Gemini, frogs or chicken which is prepared in the evening where everyone sits together and eats. A portion of the prepared food is also offered to the departed souls for their blessings.
The village is all decked up like a newlywed bride and people start cleaning the streets, wells, and fields. The elders of the family perform the rituals and youth just enjoys every bit of it. A popular bamboo dance is also performed to attract positive vibes and make the ambiance fun and positive.
People of the Pochuri tribe wear their traditional dresses to celebrate the Yemshe festival. Kaksi Nei (a dress for unmarried boys), Yimchungar (Shawl), and kilt (dress) are the traditional dresses that are worn by the locals.
Young engaged couples exchange gifts and eat delicacies with wine. The entire ambiance is filled up with joy and merriness and thus attending this celebration is a forever memory to cherish. Some popular dishes that are prepared during the festival are fermented bamboo shoots, fermented dry fish, Zutho (rice beer), dried pork, and smoked port stew.
By Road. Traveling by roadways is a fun and exciting way to travel to any destination as it lets you explore the nearby surrounding and enjoy serene views. Tourists may travel through the inter-state tourist buses to Nagaland or may take their own vehicle to reach Kohima. By road, one has to cover a distance of approx. 2,200, 3,100, 1,300 and 3,200 km from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru respectively.
By Rail. The Yemshe festival is celebrated with amazing spirit of festivity and happiness in the entire state of Nagaland. One gets to witness and enjoy the festival by reaching the Kohima city. The nearest railway station to Kohima is Dimapur which is 75km from the city. The station is well connected to the major cities of India hence arriving at the city via rail route will be convenient and cheaper. Nagaland Express, Avadh Assam Express, and Jan Shatabdi Expres are a few popular trains on which seats can be booked to travel to Nagaland.
By Air. Dimapur airport is the nearest airport. The airport receives direct and connecting flights from all parts of the country hence getting flights to Dimapur will not be a problem. From the airport, visitors have to cover a distance of approx. 70km by locally available transport such as a taxi or a bus to reach the main city.
5 October 2019
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