One of the most renowned tribal festivals of Nagaland known as Moatsu, in India's remote north-east region, is underway at the moment.
Time: 1st week of May.
Venue: Mokokchung, Nagaland State of India
Celebrated By: Ao Tribe
Duration: One Week
Moatsu Festival is celebrated by the Ao tribe of Nagaland. Moatsu is celebrated in the first week of May every year. Various rituals are performed during this period. The Aos observe Moatsu Mong after the sowing is done. The Moatsu festival provides the Aos a period of recreation and entertainment after the stressful work of clearing fields, burning jungles and sowing seeds, cleaning up the Tsubu (Wells) and repairs and construction of houses by elders of the Putu Menden, stretching over a week.
The Moatsu festival is marked by peppy songs and dances. The whole festival with full of merry making and fun is observed only for three days from 1st to 3rd of May. During this festival one of the symbolic celebrations is Sangpangtu, where a big fire is lit and men and women sit around it. Men & women putting on the complete best attire and the womenfolk serve the wine and meat. Righteous man who lives by the guidance of the Almighty forecast whether good or evil days are awaiting the people and the village by readings of the celebration of the Moatsu festival.
The Customs & Rituals
The natural customary practice of the forefathers was competing in making the best rice-beer and rearing the best possible pigs and cows to be slaughtered during the festival. The womenfolk weave the best of traditional garments and adorn themselves with all their fineries. They join the men folk in dancing, eating and drinking and composing warrior songs. Singing songs in praise of the lover and the village as a whole is done and the older men folk encourage the young people to be bold and heroic to defend and protect them from enemies as head-hunting was practiced during the fore-fathers time.
The Principal Aim of the Festival
The principal aim of this festival is to invoke Almighty God’s blessings after finishing the diverse activities, such as:
– Repairs and construction of houses by elders of the Putu Menden (Village Council)
– Marriages in spring season
– Ploughing of old and new Jhum Kheti
– Cleaning up the Tsubu (Water Wells)
On completion of all these manifold activities celebration of Moatsu Mong takes place.