States of India
Sekrenyi Angami Festival
The Angamis celebrate SEKRENYI in the month of February. It normally falls on the 25th day of the Angami month of "KEZEI". This ten-day festival is also called PHOUSANYI by the Angamis.
The festival follows a circle of ritual and ceremony, the first being "KIZIE". A few drops of rice water taken from the top of the jug, called "ZUMHO" are sprinkled on some leaves and placed at the three main posts of the house by the lady of the household. The first day begins with all the young and old going to the village well to bathe. At night two young men go to the well to clean it.
Some of the village youth guard the well at night as no one is allowed to fetch water after cleaning the well. The womenfolk, especially, are not allowed to touch the well water. Hence they have to see that the water for the household is fetched before the well cleaning is done.
Early the next morning, all the young men of the village rise to wash themselves at the well. The whole process is carried out in a ritualistic manner. The young men don two new shawls (the white MhoushÜ and the black lohe) and sprinkle water on their chest, knees and on their right arm.
This ceremony is called "DZÜSEVA" (touching the sleeping water) and it assures them that all their ills and misfortunes have been washed away by the purified well-water.
On their return from the well, a cock is sacrificed by throttling it with bare hands. It is taken as a good omen when the right leg falls over the left leg as the cock falls The innards of the fowl are taken out and hung outside the house for the village elders to come and inspect it.
Starting from the fourth day of the festival, a three day session of singing and feasting starts.
The THEKRA HIE is the best part of the festival where the young people of the village sit together and sing traditional songs throughout the day. Jugs of rice-beer and plates of meat are placed before the participants.
On the seventh day the young men go for hunting. The most important ceremony falls on the eighth day when the bridge-pulling or gate-pulling is performed or inter village visits are exchanged. Until the close of the festival no one goes to the fields and all field work ceases during this season of feasting and singing.
The young unmarried girls with closely shaven heads sit down with the bronzed youths and sing tunes of bygone ages, recreating a past where no care touched the human soul.
This festival is being celebrated annually at Touphema Village, from 25th-27th February, and has been identified by the Govt. as a festival destination.