This auspicious festival is of the Yimchunger Nagas of Nagaland. This harvest festival is of great importance to the Yinchunger tribe and is one of many popular festivals of Nagaland. People belonging to North East India greatly observe this festival with respect. Metumniu festival celebrates the particular crop harvest of millet. Millet is included among the staple diet of the Yimchungaers. The culture of the tribes hailing from Nagaland follows a closely common pattern. All tribes posses a deep respect for agriculture and the harvest produced and hence express their keen gratitude towards God who has aided them in their long and hardworking journey. It is on the occasion of this festival that the deceased loving souls that have passed away the year before return to their homes. The people pray for the deceased souls and also for a good harvest. The holidays of this festival are spent with pomp and cheerful attitude. People drink, dance and rejoice together as a community. The festival is also lined with a meaningful revival of what is lost or broken by ragging rains and storms. And hence people make sure to clean and repair roads, homes and their surroundings and bring back a sense of restoration.
History of the Festival
Traditionally, the festival is celebrated after the harvest of millet crop. The millet crop is of great significance and importance to the Yimchunger people and is mainly included in their everyday diet. People regard this agricultural fortune with appreciation and bestow forth their thanks to God who has accompanied them in their agricultural endeavor. The festival also serves as an opportunity when the dead souls who previously passed away rise from their sleeping graves and visits the homes of their loved ones. People welcome their presence by offering prayers to ensure them peace. Other prayers are entertained to ward off evil spirits that mean harm. Frolicking is part and parcel of harvest festivals of Nagaland and attracts encouragement of tourism.
Duration of the Festival
Metumniu festival is celebrated each year by the Yemchunger tribe. It is celebrated in the Month of August after the harvest of millet crop. The presence of the Metumniu festival lasts for five days. The festivities start at 4th of August and end by 8th of August.
Highlights/ Important Rituals of the Festival
- All five days of the festival have certain specific names.
- Throughout the duration of the festival more than 30 cultural troupes, dressed in their traditional garb, perform traditional dances and sing folk songs that showcase their cultural heritage. The performances are very splendid.
- The festival is presided by head of the district or city commonly known as Kheanpuru in Nagaland.
- Many people attend to enjoy the festivities. The estimated number of people that attend the celebration of the Metumniu festival is nearly over 5,000.
- The first day of Metumniu is known as Shito. On this day people gather in groups and partake in the cleaning of their homes and environment. They start with the cleaning of streets and roads.
- On the second day, known as Zhihto, peoples are engaged in repairing their homes and broken roads.
- On the third day the restoration of roads of the villages and inter villages is brought under attention.
- The fourth day is known as Zhumto by the Yimchunger people.
- On the fifth day which is known as Kheresuk people clean ponds, lakes, rivers and other water bodies.
- The last and the fifth day is known as Sheresuk. On the last day people finally take a break from all the hard work and invest their day’s time in merrymaking and feasting.
- During the entire course of the festival many prayers are offered. Religious rituals are executed as well.