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The Aoling Festival

April 1, 2018 - April 6, 2018

The life and rituals of tribes in hilly north eastern state Nagaland is quite fascinating. In ancient ages, some of these tribes were aggressive warriors and believed in practicing pagan rituals. The Konyak tribe of Nagaland is one prime example. They also used to be head hunters.

The Aoling festival is celebrated by Konyak tribes in April’s first week.  This seed sowing festival coincides with advent of Spring. The tribes remain in a jovial mood during this time, as it is. During this harvest festival, they wear traditional and colorful attire. The headgear is particularly notable -made of animal or human skulls. While tribal women dance to songs, the men play log drums. Men also indulge in warrior dance rituals with their ancient weapons. Spears and guns are used in dance and later gunfire also takes place.

The first day of this harvest festival is known as Hoi Lah Nyih. This is the time when the tribes collect firewood, various vegetables and prepare rice beer. Chickens are sacrificed and a ritual of soothsaying takes place. On next two days named Yin Mok Pho Nyih and Mok Shek Nyih respectively, they gather domesticated animals for killing later. On 4th day, named Lingnyu Nyih, the tribal men and women put on colorful attire and ornaments. It is a day replete with traditional singing and dance. The community feasting is also worth mentioning here. The tribes also replicate their ancient headhunting ritual albeit in a mimicking way by shooting guns in air. The remaining days, namely Lingha Nyih and Lingshan Nyih are spent by meeting and honoring relatives and families.


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Author: Desk


April 1, 2018
April 6, 2018
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Mon district, Nagaland, India