Rites and Festivals of the Pochury Tribe related to agriculture. Introduction: The Pochuries very life depends on his/her crop therefore most of his/her days are spend in the field. Work and religions in the life of the Pochury Nagas are interwoven with many religious ceremonies designed and performed to protect and increase his/her crop. In this paper we will look at some of the rites and festival of the Pochuries related to Agriculture. Rites and Festivals Associated to Agriculture: 1. Nazu: Nazu means ‘new year’, it is a 10 day long festival (February 20th to 30th) .
This festival is very ritualistic as well as entertaining in nature and is celebrated before the sowing of seeds to earn blessings for the good harvest throughout the year. It is celebrated with great pomp and show by feasting, singing , dancing and merry making. The following rituals are abserved: During this ten days kajiwa (village king) will initiate and give all the necessary announcements . And wherever he goes he has to carry akha ( wine) in a cup and drop drops of wine as a sign of giving one tenth offering to Aniiza Kajiwa ( supreme god) and also as a asking blessing.
Every household will hang fish and pork wraped in arunga as sacrifice to Aniiza Kajiwa. And those household with male members will post a bamboo outside the house. On the tip of the bamboo, Awiiphrii along with fish and pork will be tied. 2. Azhu Kiipotsa ( Clearing of Jungles for jhum cultivation). The village king along with the elders will discuss about the block to be felled for the year, sufficiently big to grow crop will be chosen by general consent from land which has been long enough under jungle. They will go to that selected jungle and locate ashito (particular tree).
The king will first cut the tree uttering ‘ phrasiike tsuosiizu’ meaning ‘ weeds die and wither, the crops grow ‘, then the rest will follow and clear the jungle for jhum cultivation . In the case of steep area and spring area, the land owner performs a sacrifice to please the spirit of the spring and the spirits dwelling there. Rooster heads is severed and sacrificed chanting pleasant words to please the spirit and a piece of iron is buried in the field right before cultivation to ward off any bad spirit from harming humans. 3.
Atsii kiitsii (seed plantation): the king will lead his villagers to the field and he would dig the ground as a sign of beginning plantation then the women folks from the Nyuthe clan will follow followed by the whole villagers for the blessing of a good harvest. If another hand outside the Nyuthe clan first sow then the harvest will be a total loss. In the third week a ‘genna’ called akhuki kiichesa kiichenna marks the end of the sowing with no one going to the field for plantation. 4. Arethu: For the terrace cultivation there is a ‘genna ‘ called Arethu.
The village First – sower (kajiwa) will go and sow his own seedling patch without eating and drinking. On his return to the village he eats a meal of fish, ginger and rice. The next day the villagers sow their patches. By about the end of October the crop is ripe, and the ceremony of the first reaping ( Mathakevite) is held for three days, during which the man who acts as the First- reaper(kevitowa) drinks no beer but may eat only fish, ginger and rice. On the first day kevitowa goes to his field, fasting before dawn, and begins to reap.
Later other villagers come and finish the work for him. On the second day no on works, and on the third day all begins reaping. 5. Ritual for the invitation of rain ( in case of drought): All the boys and unmarried men go down before dawn and build a platform by the side of the path leading to the fields. It is considered disgraceful for anyone to stay behind in the village, who ought to go down. On the way back each boy and man cuts a stick and sets it up in the piece of jungle outside the village used as a latrine.
None of them may return to the place that day. The village is “genna” and no wild bird or animal may be eaten. 6. Yemshe: Yemshe is celebrated during the first week of October every year to welcome the advent of harvesting season and blessing. When the time approaches, the Village Spokesman (king) will announce the arrival of Yemshe. The youth will clean the whole village and construct resting place. After that the head of the family will perform all rituals. Necessary materials used in rituals are fastened to the main post of the front house.
The sanctification of the House, a ritual feast has to be hosted by a rich family. All the villagers will observe the period with great solemnity till the end of the period. The family who host the sanctification Feast has to fulfil the following conditions before the feast day: provide wine to all families of the village, distributed to all his age-group friends, collected mugs from every house and kept in the host’s family for drinking wine, distribute rice it to all the houses and later the cooked rice will be again collected and redistributed to all the families in the village.
After all the arrangements, young and old will come and help the host in preparation of the feast. By sundown, all villagers, from youngest to the oldest will come together to attend the great feast. And few quantities of all sorts of food stuff and rice grains shall be shared and offered it to the dead souls as farewell gifts and greetings of the Yemshe Feast. The last day of the feast will be impressively observed as the feast cleansing day. All will remain at home and no one will do anything and go on journey or anywhere.
From the very next day all types of harvest and collection of house constructional materials will begin as the happiest moment for the farmers has come with the blessing of God. Conclusion : The Pochury Nagas as seen are ritualistic, they believe in the nameless Supreme Aniiza who fashioned the world. The village king acts as the priest of the Pochury religion as well as the administrator and initiator of all the ceremonies. They offer sacrifices and observe genna to aniza for blessing of good harvest and good relationship. Thus we can also say that they were religious and acknowledge the Suprem Aniza as the provider.