The Ao tribe of Nagaland majorly celebrates the Moatsu festival in the hope of a good harvest. The tribals observe this festival after sowing the seeds in the fields. It is a famous community festival that brings people together and encourages bonding. This three-day festival is celebrated with great fanfare. Villagers make new friends, exchange gifts, make bonfires, prepare lip-smacking feasts, and more. The festival witnesses many customs and rituals performed before sowing is done in the fields. It is a much-deserved break for them after going through various farm-related activities like burning jungles, clearing fields, removing weeds and wild plants, cleaning up wells or Tsubu, doing repair work in their homes, and more. This three-day break from their backbreaking work helps them relax, enjoy, and have loads of fun. They sing and dance on peppy numbers and wind down after stressful farm work of many months.
Moatsu Festival has social and cultural significance. It is manifested in various ways. Sangpangtu is a symbolic celebration where a huge bonfire is lit, and men and women sit around it in their best clothes. Meat and wine are served and enjoyed. The festival's readings indicate whether the coming year would be good or bad for the villagers. The village witch doctors read these readings and make forecasts. All in all, a lot of community bonding can be seen where locals express their friendships with each other.
Moatsu Festival is celebrated from May 1st to May 3rd, sometimes stretching to the entire week in Mokokchung. This celebration of good harvest by the Ao Tribe of Nagaland is a sight to behold. It is a very private and intimate celebration of the villagers.
Celebrated at the beginning of May, the Moatsu festival stretches for the whole first week of the month. During the celebrations, a traditional fire is lit around which the villagers gather together for enjoyment and merry-making.
As the festival's announcement is made, the very first thing that the villagers do is close the gates of their village. It is done to ensure that no outsider is a part of the Moatsu festival. This shows that the tribals like to keep their festivals and other affairs very private.
A part of the festival also sees the elderly indulging in several competitions and youth. The senior men compete with their younger counterparts in making the best rice beer. On the other hand, the womenfolk compete to prepare the best traditional attire for their people. Not just that, people also participate in traditional dance forms and sing songs and make merry.
This ritual or tradition is the main highlight of the Moatsu Festival of Nagaland. As per the custom, a big fire is lit much similar to Holika Dahan. The tribesmen and women gather around it and sing songs, indulge in performing arts, dance around, making the best of those joyful moments. Wine is served in great quantities among the villagers.
After lighting the fire, the villagers bring their pigs and cows and sacrifice them to please the supreme god. Prayers then follow the slaughter for the upcoming harvest. After all of this, the witch doctor of the village also joins the festivities and predicts if the harvest will be a good one or not. Earlier in the day, a young couple who had recently hit puberty was made to fornicate in front of the whole village crowd. This unusual ritual symbolically depicted the fertility of the soil, thus ensuring a good harvest. However, it isn't practiced in the current times because of the majority of the Christian population in the region.
Moatsu Festival is a very popular local festival in Nagaland. This tribe festival is celebrated amidst a lot of joy and excitement among the Ao tribal population of this area. It is celebrated in Mokokchung, which can be accessed using different modes of transportation. Here, we bring you details of these modes to make things easier for you.
Deboard at the Jorhat Airport (JRH), located about 110 km away. Jorhat Airport doesn't have excellent flight connectivity with all the prominent Indian cities. Thus, it would be best to take connecting flights from cities like Guwahati and Kolkata to reach here. After deboarding at the airport, you can book a taxi to reach your destination.
If traveling by train, deboard at the Mariani train station in Assam, located 80-85 km away. This station is fairly well-connected to the nearby local regions by trains. After deboarding at the station, you will need to cover the remaining distance by public transport. ·
You can also consider traveling to Mokokchung by well-maintained roadways and national highways network. If residing in the nearby regions, it would be best to board a cab or take state-run/privately run buses to reach here as per your budget. If you prefer to travel at your own pace, consider self-driving here.
Ques 1. When is the Moatsu Festival celebrated?
Ans 1. Moatsu Festival is celebrated from May 1st to May 3rd, sometimes stretching to the entire week in Mokokchung. This celebration of good harvest by the Ao Tribe of Nagaland is a sight to behold. It is a very private and intimate celebration of the villagers.
Ques 2. What is the significance of the Sangpangtu ritual?
Ans 2. This ritual or tradition is the main highlight of the Moatsu Festival of Nagaland. As per the custom, a big fire is lit much similar to Holika Dahan. The tribesmen and women gather around it and sing songs, indulge in performing arts, dance around, making the best of those joyful moments. Wine is served in great quantities among the villagers.
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