From the seventeen existing tribes of Nagaland, the Moatsu Mong festival is celebrated by the Ao People. The Ao Nagas observe Moatsu Mong as their designated harvest festival. The festival is celebrated with resolve in parts of North East India. The festival takes place after the fields have been cleared, weeds have been discarded and seeds are sown. The farming is painstaking, but with the combined efforts of the hard working people its made possible. It is viewed as a kind of reward for people who have worked for hours long. The festival is full of harmony and unity. People dance and sing, feast and pray. Only the best reared animals are slaughter for their meat. The festive spirits are complete with competitions where the best made rice wine is awarded. People pray to the almighty to look after their lands and bless it with a great harvest. They also express their thanks and gratification for the abundant blessings they have received from God. Women and men both clad themselves in their finest clothes and artistic jewelry and celebrate. The Aos take pride in expression of their culture. Being one the most popular festivals of Nagaland and of the Aos, Moastsu Mong is celebrated with no lack of splendor. With flourishing tourism in Nagaland, Moatsu Mong festival serves as an important tourist interest.
History of the Festival
The people beckon Almighty God’s presence so that their hard work can be addressed and given recognition in the form of a good harvest. The festival brings good tidings to the land and the lives of the people. Also the duration of the festival is considered as a special time to initiate and forge new relationships. With high hopes in their hearts the Ao people plough their fields with confidence because their faith alone in God is enough to get them through the hardships in life and on the fields. People clean and repair whatever that broken within their homes and village. The restoration takes about a week’s time before the festival. It is overlooked by the elders of the ‘Putu Menden’ (village council). The holidays of the festival are passed in cheerful spirits.
Duration of the Festival
The festival is celebrated for three whole days. Initial festivities begin from the 1st of May and end by the 3rd of May. The festival is observed every year after sowing seeds for crops in fields and farms.
Highlights/Important Rituals of the Festival
- Rice wine is a part and parcel of most tribes in Nagaland and hence rice wine is prepared at every home. People often compete with each other and try to make the very best of rice wines.
- The animal that has been reared the strongest is used for its meat. Animals are specially reared for the occasion.
- One significant of all events is the Sangpangtu. A large bonfire is lighted and women and men sit encircled around it.
- The best wine and food is served.
- Marriages to take place in the spring season are discussed.
- The entire vicinity of the village is cleaned along with Tsubu (water wells)
- People present themselves in fine and new clothes. They bring out their traditional jewelry. They engage in eating, feasting, dancing and singing. Games are enjoyed as well. People counter wise stories of their ancestors. Stories of brave and fearless warriors are also shared.
- Young boys are allowed to engage the people with laughter as they put forward their own stories of amusement. The people enjoy each others company and it increases the interaction amongst the people and brings them closer as a community.