Celebrated by the Ao people of Nagaland, the Moatsü festival is celebrated in the first week of May every year with various rituals performed during this period. The Moatsu Festival is one of the most popular and significant festivals celebrated by the Naga tribe and is a time of great joy and celebration.
The Moatsu Festival is a harvest festival, and it is celebrated after the sowing season is over. The festival provides them with a period of recreation and entertainment after the stressful work of clearing fields, burning jungles, sowing seeds, cleaning up the Tsubu or wells and repairing and constructing houses by the elders of the Putu Menden or the village council, that stretches over a week. The festival also is the beginning of marriages in spring and the ploughing of old and new Jhum fields. The Moatsü festival which runs for three days from 01 to 03 May is marked by peppy songs and dances and is full of merrymaking and fun. The festival aims to invoke the blessings of the almighty after the completion of sowing. During the festival, the villagers come together to clean the village and the surrounding areas, as they believe that this will bring good luck and prosperity to their village.
During this festival, one of the symbolic celebrations is Sangpangtu, where a big fire is lit and men and women sit around it putting on their complete best attire, the womenfolk serve the wine and meat. The village witch doctors forecast whether good or evil days are awaiting the people and the village by the readings of the celebration.
The first day of the festival is known as the ‘Likhümthi’, which means the day of the cleaning of the village. On this day, the villagers clean their houses, the streets, and the village common areas. They also decorate their homes with flowers and other decorations to welcome the guests who will visit their homes during the festival. The second day of the festival is known as ‘Moatsu proper’. On this day, the villagers wear their traditional costumes and gather at the village ground to perform various cultural activities. The men and women dance together, sing traditional songs, and play various musical instruments. The Ao people are known for their traditional warrior dances, which are performed during the festival.
The third and final day of the festival is known as ‘Tsuru Nyekha’, which means the day of feasting. On this day, the villagers prepare traditional dishes and invite their friends and relatives to their homes for a feast. The feast includes a variety of dishes, including smoked pork, dried fish, bamboo shoot, and various other delicacies. The feast is a time for the villagers to bond and strengthen their relationships.
During the festival, one of the symbolic celebrations is Sangpangtu where a big fire is lit and women & men sit around it. The best women serve the best wine and meat and make merry. The forecast is made by the righteous men who live by the guidance of the Almighty to see whether good or evil days are awaiting the people.
The Moatsu Festival is not just a time for celebration, but it is also a time for the Ao people to reinforce their cultural identity. The festival is an opportunity for the villagers to showcase their traditional arts and crafts, such as weaving, wood carving, and beadwork. The festival is also an occasion for young people to learn about their cultural heritage and the traditions of their ancestors.
The Moatsu Festival has a deep spiritual significance for the Ao people when they offer prayers to their gods and goddesses for a bountiful harvest and good health. The Ao people believe that their gods and goddesses will bless them if they perform the festival with sincerity and devotion. The Moatsu Festival is also a popular tourist attraction with many tourists visiting Nagaland during the festival to experience the rich cultural heritage of the state. In conclusion, the Moatsu Festival is a time of great joy and celebration for the Ao Naga tribe in Nagaland, India. It is a time for the villagers to come together and celebrate their cultural heritage. The festival is a time for the Ao people to give thanks to their gods and goddesses for the bountiful harvest that they have received. The festival is not just a time for celebration, but it is also an opportunity for the villagers to reinforce their cultural identity and showcase their traditional arts and crafts. The Moatsu Festival is a unique festival that showcases the rich cultural heritage of the Ao people and is a must-visit for anyone interested in learning about the customs and traditions of the Nagas