About Moatsu Festival
Moatsü Mong festival is celebrated by the Ao people of
Nagaland, India. Moatsü Festival is celebrated in the first
week of May every year. Various customs are performed during
this period. The Aos observe Moatsü Mong after the sowing is
done. The festival gives them a period of leisure and
amusement after the hectic work of clearing fields, burning
jungles, sowing seeds, cleaning up the Tsubu (wells) and
repairs & construction of houses by elders of the Putu Menden,
extending over a week.
The Moatsü festival is marked by peppy songs and dances. The
entire festival is full of merry making and fun is observed
only for three days from May 1 to 3. During this festival one
of the symbolic celebrations is Sangpangtu, where a big fire
is lit and men and women sit around it putting on their
complete best attire, the womenfolk serve the wine and meat.
Village witch doctors forecast whether good or evil days are
awaiting the people and the village by readings of the
celebration of the Moatsü festival. This festival was also
marked with ritualistic public fornication of a young virgin
and a teenage boy to mark the fertility of the land at the
time. This ritual was stopped since the arrival of
Christianity to the land.
One of the tribal communities, "Ao" tribe celebrates Moatsu
Festival in the first week of May, every year. Various rituals
are performed during this period. The environment becomes
exciting and dynamic during Moatsu festival by peppy songs and
dances on the lively music by the tribal men and women.
The joy and fun of festival continues for full three days. The
ritual called Sangpangtu in which camp fire is lit and the
well-dressed folks sit around it are served wine and meat
forms an elaborate part of the festival. A virtuous man who
claims to have directed by the enormous forecast about good
and bad days of natives and village.
Best rice-beer is prepared and the best breed of pigs and cows
are slaughtered for the feast during the festival. The women
folk and men folk enjoy the festivity by participation in
eating, dancing, drinking and singing songs in honor of
fighters and love with passion.
The main aim of this festival is to appeal to Almighty God's
blessings after finishing such diverse activities:
1) Repairs and construction of houses by elders of the Putu
Menden (Village Council)
2) Marriages in spring season
3) Ploughing of old and new Jhum Kheti
4) Cleaning up the Tsubü (Water Wells)
On completion of all these manifold activities celebration of
Moatsü Mong takes place.
Customs and Traditions
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 women weave the
best of traditional garments and decorate themselves with all
their finery. They join the men 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
encourage the young people to be brave and heroic to defend and
protect them from enemies as head-hunting was practiced during
their fore-fathers time.
During this festival one of the symbolic celebrations is
Sangpangtu where a big fire is lit and women & men sit around
it. The best women serve the best wine and meat and make merry.
Forecast is made by the righteous men who live by the guidance
of the Almighty to see whether good or evil days are awaiting
Aos have another festival called Tsüngrem Mong. It is celebrated
in the eve of the harvest. However, now a days the Aos celebrate
this festival from August 1 to 3.Prior to the start of this
festival the village will announce the Süngküm (Village Gate)
closed and free entry or exit is restricted and regulated for
people who do not belong to that particular village.
Parties of old and young wearing their colourful costumes sing
songs and perform dances to express their appreciation to the
supreme power for helping the crops to grow well. They provide
the best offerings to the extreme power for abundant
blessings.These festivals provide opportunities to the budding
generations and village stalwarts to reveal their intellectual
skill and physical powers.
A handful of young men hold the stage and tell entertaining
stories about their elders. Peals of laughter greet them and
young & old jump in enthusiasm. These festivals are usually
rounded off by a tug of war between men and women. Stories are
in abundance that men lose to satisfy their womenfolk. The only
defense offered is that men have to pull uphill and the women
downhill. Whatever the spirit behind this sport it is a treat to
see and an honour to participate.
Main Attractions of
peppy dances and songs, Sangpangtu, the big fire with men and
women sitting around it with their best dresses and sumptuous
Moatsu festival is one of the most keenly awaited events in the
small but vastly beautiful state of Nagaland. Making the entire
state lively with its exciting festivities, Moatsu Mong festival
is celebrated by Ao tribe of the state. The main idea of
observing this festival is to invoke God's blessings.
First week of May comes alive every year with homecoming of this
festival once again as this is the best time for merry making,
singing and dancing. Though traditionally, this festival is a
six-day long affair, these days, it has shrunk to only three
days. However, the fun of festivities is not reduced in anyway.
It is still celebrated with same feeling, vigor and joy as it
used to be earlier.
History of Moatsu Festival
This is a kind of harvest festival like many other
festivals celebrated all over India since India is mainly
an agricultural country. This festival is a time to relax
completely as this is observed after completing all the
heavy and laborious tasks of sowing grains, constructing
and repairing houses, cleaning of village ponds (Tsubu)
and more tasks. Even though times have changed, the days
before the festival are still filled with hectic activity
and people are very busy.
Though the festival is celebrated in the whole Nagaland,
the main place of all the important festivities and events
is Chuchuyimlang village. Even people from different
places in the country come here to enjoy the festival.
This is the time for the outsiders to have a ringside of
view of Naga lifestyle. Nagaland Tourism is considering
promoting this festival as a national event.
Celebration of Moatsu Festival
is big annual event and deserves complete makeover of the homes,
people, moods, minds and all. So, people gear up for the
festival by cleaning and decorating their houses, shopping for
new things like decorative, clothes, etc. And the biggest
attraction of the festival, rice beer, is brewed in large
quantities. Moreover, for the big festive feasting, pigs, fowls
and cows are fed to make them fat. People get together and visit
villages in groups, distributing gifts among lots of singing,
dancing and feasting. The eulogies sung to honor the traditional
heroes are among the distinctive attractions of the event. The
big fire, Sangpangtu, is the symbolic representation of the
event. Around this fire men and women sit in their best clothes
and eating delicious food. One more thing that is unique about
the event is the estimate by a learned person, who by the
guidance of the God, foretells about the good and bad days that
may affect the village.
Many tradition and rituals are the part of this festival.
Everyone is relaxed for a week, refreshes their body, mind and
soul to take up future tasks, and challenges in the year ahead.