1st week of May.
Mokokchung, Nagaland in India.
Celebrated By :
Among the Aos, the most important festival is Moatsu, which is celebrated after the sowing is over. The festival last six days. On the first night of the festival sexual intercourse was forbidden. Every man was required to wear a new belt, for hanging his
dao. The unmarried men received belts as presents from their girl friends, the married men got from their wives.
During this occasion, the restriction relating to dress and ornaments were relaxed. People could wear even the forbidden ones according to their will. The most important role, during the festival used to be played by the youths of the bachelor's dormitory. Before the festival, the
morung had to be repaired and cleansed. The dancing drums were also put to order by attaching new skins.
On the first day of the festival, the boys belonging to the younger age-groups used to go to the jungle and collect six bundles of paired
bamboo strips each. These they handed over to the morung elders, for use according to their discretion.
On the second day, all the boys and grown-up males engaged themselves in clearing the village, particularly the main approaches to the village. That night, the cows and the pigs to be slaughtered on the occasion of this festival were tied outside the
On the third day, the cows and the pigs would be killed. The meat was distributed among the boys of the
morung and some portion was kept apart, to be given as present. In the evening, the boys would eat the meat outside the
morung. Later some old men would come to the morung and would be entertained with meat and rice-beer. When they would eat the meat, the boys would be singing songs inside the
On the fourth day, the people of Mongsen Khel would dance in procession; in all the streets of the village.
On the fifth day, the people of Chungli Khel would dance similarly. The women were not to take any part in these dances, but at intervals they served rice-beer to the dancers. The old men also would not dance, but follow the dancer, singing songs. A drummer always accompanied the party and the people would dance to the beatings of the drum. On the sixth day, both the
Khels used to dance together.
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 encourages 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 building of houses by elders of the Putu Menden (Village Council)
Marriages in spring season.
Ploughing of old and new Jhum Kheti.
Cleaning up the TsubŁ (Water Wells).
On completion of all these manifold activities celebration of MoatsŁ Mong takes place.