The Zeliangrong community celebrates the Gaan Ngai festival. For the Kabui/Rongmei Naga tribe, Gaan-Ngai is the prime festival out of many festivals celebrated. It is mainly performed by the devotees and followers of Zeliangrong Indigenous religion of ‘Heraka’ and ‘Tingkao Ragwang Chap-Riak’ cults.
THE COMMUNITIES CELEBRATING GAAN-NGAI
The Zeliangrong community primarily inhabit the northeastern Indian states of Manipur, Assam, and Nagaland.
The Gaan Ngai festival is also known as Chakaan Gaan-Ngai among the Zeliangrong Nagas.
Gaan-Ngai is a post harvest festival. It is held annually.
- To mark the end of harvest season.
- To organize sports and games for the youth of the village in stone throwing, long-jump, race on the opening day of the festival with Hoi procession through the village.
- To mark the heralding of the new year and new fire is produced by rubbing of dry wood and split bamboos pieces. and the new fire is distributed to every household.
- To perform commemorative dances for those who are declared queen and kings of the Phaak (a kind of grass) after a trekking competition in a nearby hill or mountain peaks (long—Luimei).
- To worship Tingkao Ragwang, the Almighty God as a thanks-giving for the good harvest and prayer for a successful and long life in the coming year.
- To the girls who are going to be married.
- To those members of the dormitory who died in the previous year.
- To those members of the male dormitory of the rank of Khangbon who are given farewell.
- To organize a feast of the womenfolk and other ranked institutions.
- To organise singing competition of folk songs between boys and girls at girls’ dormitory.
- To perform the sacrifice and worship for the deities of the village.
- To perform the art of Drum Beating to different types.
- To perform rituals and rites such as Raren Loumei i.e. the worship of all the Gods on the last day.
- To teach the boys and girls how to maintain strict discipline in the society by the elders.
The socio-cultural agricultural fest of Chakaan Gaan-Ngai is the principal annual event among the followers of the indigenous Rongmei community.
It is celebrated in the Rongmei lunar calendar of ‘Gaan-Bu’. According to the Gregorian calendar, Gaan-Ngai falls in November-December.
On the other hand in Manipur, Gaan-Ngai is celebrated on the 13th day of ‘Wakching’ (according to the Meetei Manipuri Calendar)
The writer — Nilutpal Gogoi is an entrepreneur, senior journalist, writer, translator (from Assamese to English & vice versa), avid traveller, British English Accent & grammar trainer, educationist, and martial arts (Taekwondo) practitioner.