Monyu festival is a major festival of the Phom Nagas of Nagaland. The people of the Phoms observe four festivals namely Monyu, Moha, Bongvum and Paangmo. Out of the four Monyu is of most significance. The Phom Nagas reside in North East India with a high concentration in the Yongnyah village. The village of Yongnyah celebrates this important festival with sincere dedication and enthusiam. The Monyu is one of the popular festivals of Nagaland that celebrates the onset of the approaching harvest season. It marks the conclusion of the winter season and the start of the bright seasons of spring and summer. The festival commences after the paddy fields have be sowed. At the intervals of the festival people pray for their farms to be blessed. They beckon God with their prayers to bless their crops so that they attain a triumphant harvest for the season. The festival is celebrated for a long duration of time extending for over fifteen whole days. The duration of Monyu is passed in joyous spirits. Phom people display the richness of their culture through their ornate garbs and through social events. The social status of each person can be read in the garments they adorn. Warriors dress up in their warrior armors. The air of the festival is evident with laughter that undoubtedly speaks of people’s happiness. Feasts large enough to feed the entire village are organized. People participate in all activities with enthusiasm. This festival contributes as an event of tourist attraction in Nagaland where eco tourism is widely famous. Holidays are ideal for visiting this authentically diverse festival.
Monyu festival marks the end of cold winter nights and the beginning of a warmer season of spring and summer when the crops of the Phoms thrive. People evoke god to grant them and their crops with opulence. The chieftain or the chief advocate of the village interprets the course of path the season will follow. The festival is said to bring abundant blessing to people if they carry out the rituals and ceremonies precisely. However, people also share the belief that if the rituals are neglected and treated with disrespect if may cause disasters and hinder the growth of their paddy. The women are treated with respect and appreciated by offering pure rice beer. Men conduct a special ceremony for the women. The theme of this empowering ceremony reflects on the idea of expressing respect and gratitude towards women. Hence, on this day women are treated with utter respect and hospitality. Arrival of the festival is confirmed through the gesture of beating of drums two days prior to when the festival starts. A certain rhythm of drumming is performed which is known as ‘Lan Nyangshem’.
The festival is a 12 day long festival. However, people only celebrate the festivities for about 6 days. Monyu starts from the first of April and goes up to the 6th of April. Phom Nagas celebrate is every year with renewed spirits.