Newmai News Network
Pune: The Liangmai community residing in Maharashtra came together to celebrate the Chaga Ngee festival with the theme “Celebrating Liangmai Culture” at the Papal Seminary Wadgaon Sheri in Pune on Monday. The event was attended by Liangmai individuals living in Maharashtra state, a statement from the organizing committee said today.
“The Chaga Ngee festival, a significant cultural and blessings festival, was graced by the esteemed presence of Aaron Pamei as chief guest, who is currently holding the position of director (Personnel) at the Naval HQ, ministry of defence, the government of India. The event was also graced by the presence of the president and executives of the Naga Student Union, Pune, Zeliangrong Welfare Organisation Pune, pastors of Naga Christian Fellowship Pune, Atul Kulkarni who is chairman of Amazing Namaste Foundation, member of the Board of Governors, IIM Shillong, and a representative from My Home India,” it also said.
During this festival, the participants greeted one another with the phrase ‘Naphou Chagabo thiulo,’ which means “I wish you luck or fortune.”
Speaking on the occasion, Dr M Maisuangdibou, an assistant professor at UBS, Pune, and the author of two books, “Liangmai Narratives” and “Biblical Hermeneutics,” highlighted insight on the significance of Chaga Ngee and its historical celebrations. “Chaga Ngee, often referred to as the October Festival, represents the most significant and grandest event within the Liangmai community. It is celebrated during the month of Chaga Hiu, which corresponds to October, marking the festivities following the harvest season with various customs and rituals that serve as sanctification, purification of community, stressing on the warriors, thanksgiving, bestowing blessings for individual fortune and success.”
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During Chaga Ngee, community members seek blessings from Tingwang, the supreme God. He further highlighted that in the past, the community used to celebrate various festivals every month. However, Chaga Ngee is the only festival that continues to be celebrated to this day. This festival in the past extended for 5 days, commencing with the preparation of ‘Jou Thoubo,’ which involved pounding rice to create rice beer and gathering ingredients for ‘Jou Madungbo,’ the fermentation process. Raw rice was soaked, pounded, mixed with hot water, and then stored for later use during the festival.
On the second day, known as ‘Peng Kepbo,’ male participants engage in a unique activity, shooting a human effigy with arrows or sharp objects to test their luck and fortune. The third day, called ‘Malong Ponbo Nai,’ is when men invite their sisters, referred to as ‘Patan paliu mai,’ to join in the feast and celebration, the statement also said.
‘Chaga Pahbo’ is celebrated on the full moon day, with a tradition of feasting and wine consumption before sunset to avoid potential misfortune.
The final day, ‘Chaga Laibo,’ is for the elderly to feast on bamboo mats (Tadong) outside their homes, with the rule that Chaga food and wine cannot be brought inside the house after ‘Chaga Pahbom,’ the statement added.
Speaking on the occasion, Aaron Pamai encouraged all the youths to continue living as an ambassador for everyone back home. He also expressed that everyone should respect one’s cultural and traditional legacies giving regard to its roots for a better society.
“The event was a heartwarming celebration of Liangmai culture that brought the community and honoured guests together, while also highlighting the enduring significance of Liangmai traditions,” the statement said.
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The event highlighted the cultural importance of Chaga Ngee, emphasizing communal sanctification and gratitude, and showcased the resilience of tradition, reinforcing the strong bond within the Liangmai community. “This festival not only celebrated the community’s rich heritage but also emphasized the importance of cultural preservation, making it a memorable and meaningful occasion for all,” the statement further added.