The Telegraph
Tuesday , February 26 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Election takes toll on festival

Kohima, Feb. 25: Sekrenyi was celebrated all over the state today by the Angami community but was a bit low key, coming just after the elections.

Unlike in the previous years, there was no community programme or feasts in Kohima. The Angami Public Organisation (APO), the apex organisation of Angami community, stayed away from organising community celebrations in view of the state elections, which took place on February 23.

Most Sekrenyi-related programmes were cancelled apprehending post-poll violence. The organisation and chief minister Neiphiu Rio, who attended the festival at Touphema tourist village, greeted the people on the occasion.

The president of the organisation, Keneingunyu Sekhose, greeted the people during the festival, called the festival of purification. Different cultural troupes presented folk songs and dances. The festival concludes with a mass feast hosted by villager Kechangulie Rio.

The 10-day festival is also called Phosayni 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 jumho, are put on leaves and placed at three main posts of the house by the lady of the household. On the first day, all young men go to the village well to bathe. Two young men clean the well on the previous night. Some of the village youth guard the well at night and no one is allowed to fetch water after the well is cleaned. The womenfolk, especially, are not allowed to touch the water. Hence, the water for the household has to be fetched before cleaning the well.

The men wear two new shawls (the white mhoushü and the black lohe) and sprinkle water on their chest, knees and right arm. This ceremony is called dzuseva (touching the sleeping water) and the purified well water is supposed to wash away all their misfortunes. From the fourth day of the festival, a three-day session of singing and feasting begins.

The thekra hie is the best part of the festival where the young people of the village 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 is on the eighth day when the bridge-pulling or gate-pulling ceremony is performed or inter-village visits are exchanged.

Until the close of the festival, no one works in the fields.

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