Miu is another Naga festival celebrated by the Khiamniungan Nagas, a minority tribe in Nagaland. It is among the important and popular festivals of Nagaland. The Khiamniungan are traditional practitioners of Jhum cultivation. Jhum cultivation is basically slash and burn style of agricultural method used for farming. The festival is celebrated with great pomp and honors the old traditions and culture of the Khiamniungan tribe. Mostly, the festival can be seen unraveling in parts of North East India, especially in Tuesang district of Nagaland. It celebrates the anticipation of a well expected harvest. Miu is celebrated with enthusiasm at the time of sowing for a new harvest. People offer their utmost sincere prayers to God to look after their cultivation and bless their crops. The people express their appreciation and thanks in the form of the many rituals and ceremonies that include the luxury of dancing, singing, and feasting together as a united community. The tourism of Nagaland heavily relies on its bright harvest festivals that exude the cultural heritage and ethnicity of Nagaland. When spending holidays in Nagaland, it is essential to visit and experience at least one harvest festival of the Nagas.
History of the Festival
This festival works in favor of bringing relatives and families together. It especially signifies the bond shared by maternal uncles with their respective niece and nephews. On this particular occasion there arises a chance for forging stronger relations between uncles and their nieces or nephews. The uncles offer prayers and evoke a powerful deity to look after and bless their sister’s children. It includes merrymaking, holistic rituals and an organized feat of feasts. The festival is also a prayer offered at the time of sowing new harvest and hoping for a successful harvest in the coming season.
Duration of the Festival
Miu is celebrated in the month of May. It is observed in the first week of the month every year. 5th of May is the precise day when this festival is celebrated.
Highlights/ Important Rituals of the Festival
- Maternal uncles offer prayers for the safety, health and well being of their nieces and nephews.
- They call upon a special deity to bless the children.
- People join in prayers to the Almighty to bless their lands with fertility.
- The Khiamniungan Nagas engage in frolics, dance and songs that are continued through the end of the day.
- A large feast is arranged for the people where the entire tribe gathers as a unified community to enjoy the pleasure of feasting together.