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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The legend of Medümneo festival:

Tuesday, 08 August 2017 11:39
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‘Soul wrapping festival’

The cultural remains of the Yimchungrüs revealed something about the evolution of its culture in the past and indicate its antiquity.  The Yimchungrü festival revolves round the agricultural operation to give their gratitude to the deity for bumper harvest.  During the festival, a village is given a face-lift by the village community, where a village street, public well, grave-yard and surrounding of the village is cleaned. The chief of the village announces the festival well ahead of time and the village men will begin to prepare themselves for all the necessary arrangement for the celebration of sumptuous feasting and merry making. The legendary and significance of the ‘Medümneo’ fiesta which is one of the most important and premier festival of the Yimchungrü Naga, celebrated across entire Yimchungrü land from 4-8 of August every year after the harvest of millet, which is also considered as ‘soul wrapping festival’.

Significance of ‘Medümneo’.

This festival is connected with the prayers for the soul of the departed souls. It is a sentimental ceremony for those dear ones who left for their heavenly abode during the year. An elder known as “KHEANGPHURU”, after due prayers, inaugurates the festival.

The festival is spread over 5 days and has separated for the days. Viz...SHITO, ZHIHTO, ZÜMTO, KHIHRESUK and SHIRESUK.

On the first day, the village is cleaned by community efforts, the damage roads and homes by heavy rains are repaired.

On the second day, the path leading to the field is put in right shape, landslides which are very common during heavy rains are cleaned, and unwieldy growths are also cut.

 On the third day. Inter – village roads are taken up. 

On the forth day, water point and springs are cleaned giving a new look to the village and its surroundings. The villager enjoys their millet. Friends are invited, gifts are exchanged. They dance in their finest and go round the village to charm young and old. The festival has a strong agricultural base, agricultural implements are sharpened and they worship the three important things such as spade, Dao and hoe.

During Medümneo festival, the young boys and girls get engaged and those already betrothed exchange present for new born babies. Special prayers are held and offerings are made. If the child happened to be male, the parents offer 6 piece of meat to the priest and if the child happens to be female, parent offer 5 piece of meat. This signifies that the male has 6 souls and female 5.

 During the Medümneo festival some of their rich cultural activities were performed   by the men like,   traditional fire making of ancestral time, top spinning, folk dances and songs etc.  During the festival, the women folk were also performed their cultural activities like, playing of dice, spinning etc..  The Medümneo festival is a deeply religious one where it connect for reunites of the spirit and living one. During this time, both living and death spirits are meeting, who are about to die their soul will go away by this time. The Metümnio festival symbolizes the sharing of love and also exchanging ‘blessing’ in the community, family members, friends and relatives.

The Medümneo is the Post harvest festival of the Yimchungrü Naga with the harvest done and the granaries full, the people now take a respite from the toils and sweat and settle down to enjoy the fruits of one’s hard labor of the year.   The main features of the fest are community songs, dances, feast, games, fun and frolic. Everyone attires themselves in their beautiful traditional dresses and costumes according to their social status. Medümneo is also a festival of thanksgiving, sharing and reconciliation but the most beautiful aspect of this festival is that past rancors are forgiven, new ties are formed and bonds of closer intimacy are formed.  It is also the time for renovating the village gate, cleaning wells and repairing or erecting new houses. The five day long festival creates the dazzling ambience all around with excited people dressed in their best traditional attire with the common feeling of unity and brotherhood. 

Medümneo festival is the time to show gratitude towards each other, all people come together for celebration forgiving past animosity and bitterness. The festival is marked by preparing delicious delicacies and inviting all friends and relatives for feast, where all people enjoy to the maximum by dining, singing and dancing together. There is also trend of exchanging gifts of food and drinks as a token of love and friendship at the same time, the best of days in a year to listen and learn from elders the many stories, tales, folklores, the rich culture of the Nagas in general and Yimchungrü tribe in particular.

Tsong’s K. Yim.


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