Chakaan Gaan-Ngai, the living ritual festival of Zeliangrongs

Chaoba Kamson
From previous issue
If it is done at jumping ground, an elder will inform the villagers to come and collect the fresh fire which will be used in cooking. It is believed that man eats the food cooked with the new fire, there will be a long life and prosperity of the coming year. Sacrifice of pig and examination of its spleen & eating of blood curry: A big pig will be sacrificed as offering to Tingkao Ragwang and the spleen of the victim will be observed to find out the future omen. Then, holy wine locally called Gakpai Zou will be offered to Tingkao Ragwang and other lower realm gods. After cooking, the grand feast is prepared at Males’ and Girls’ Dormitories and followed by Ho-hoing known as Naplao Huai with oblation of holy wine to Tingkao Ragwang and other gods. All the members of Males’ Dormitory will first taste the curry of Zeigan (curry of pig’s internal organs cooked with blood) which is very important. Zeigam-Tumei is equal to oath-taking.
Ho-Hoing : Shouting of huai is a kind of worship of Tingkao Ragwang. The philosophy of huai procession in the festival is to dispel evil spirits from the village.
Calling of paddy by individual family
Towards evening of the first day of the festival in the individual family, a ritual of calling of paddy (Napkaomei) offering a big cock to Tingkao Ragwang as thanksgiving for the plentiful harvest is performed chanting the relevant hymns. Then, the  cock’s legs are observed to know the omen and followed by offering of holy wine to Tingkao Ragwang and other goods. After finishing the cooking, the cooked liver of the cock will be offered to Kambuipui, Charaipui and Ancestors who live at the hearth stones to bless for good fortune, health, richness.
Sports activities
(i)    The object of shot-put competition on the first day of Gaan-Ngai is supposed to break the heavenly granary’s door. The said granary is full of paddy. If the granary’s door is broken, the paddy will leak out and spread everywhere. If the said paddy is used as paddy seed for sowing then a plenty of paddy will be harvested.
(ii)    The purpose of long-jump is to make the swelling earth kick up by the landing force of long-jump which is believed to a sign of distribution of paddy to mankind. So, the objective of shot-put and long-jump is for successful cultivation and good harvest.
Hymns of Shot-put
“We have dispelled evil spirits from the village by shouting of huai and arrived now at jumping ground. We are about to carry out the act of shot-put competition. When, we throw, “Au.    Haipou Tingkao Ragwang,” let us throw stone  like thread ball (Langdoi).
Hymns of Long-jump
“Today is the day of festival of our village, when the act of long-jump begins, Au.    Haipou Tingkao Ragwang, let us jump like grasshopper (Kah).
After sports activities are over, a group of village elders divided into two to three, will go every household greeting the members to enjoy joyously the festival and warn them not to quarrel nor speak ill-words against each other during the festival. If there is any  fighting, the village authority wil take a stern action against the offenders. To be contd

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