"NGADAH"
(The Festival of Rengma Tribe)

The Rengmas celebrate eight days of Ngadah festival towards the end of November, just after harvest. It is the festival of thanks giving, merry making and rejoicing. This festival also marks the end of agricultural year.  The village High Priest (PHESENGU) announces the date of commencement of the festival at the top of his voice, so that the villagers can prepare themselves for the festival .

The first day is meant for the preparation of rice-beer by every household. Banana leaves are collected from the forest on the second day, for the Ngadah feast.

On the third day womenfolk visit the graves of their relatives and places rice-beer wrapped in banana leaves, on the graves. This is a symbolic presentation of offerings to the dead spirit. It was believed that the souls of the dead visit their near and dear ones once in a year during Ngadah festival. Therefore, the festival observes the remembrance of the departed souls, besides cleaning and repairing the graves. This is the day the rice-beer prepared for the festival is tasted by the eldest member of the house, which is followed by the others drinking from it.

On the fourth day, all male members gather together at their respective morungs known as ‘RENSI’, early in the morning, with their own rice beer and meat and have the meal there. It is taboo for womenfolk to take part in the morung feast. At mid-day, all male members in their ceremonial and warrior fineries, go around the village, followed by women with rice-beer in their mugs and bitter gourd containers, to offer them drinks.

The fifth day again witnesses all the male members go in procession, visiting all the houses singing songs relating to ‘NGADAH’ festival. Each household has to give something as a token of their appreciation, when the procession visit them.

On the sixth day, all members of the village visit the house of one another irrespective of khel or clan, eat and drink with one and all in every house without any restriction or hesitation.

On the seventh day, everybody go to the forest for collection of firewood, banana leaves and vegetables for the feast. A grand feast is arranged on the eighth day, where the whole village population feast on whatever was collected on the fifth day procession. After this feast, it is believed that the souls of those who died that very year, leave the village and go to the land of the dead. On this three rites are performed. One is the peace agreement with fire in order to avoid fire accident in the village. The second agreement is made with rats, so that they do not destroy crops or household goods. The third rite is performed to expel evil spirits from all households and village. This ends the eight long days celebration of the ‘NGADAH’ festival by the Rengmas.

 

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