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Chakaan Gaan-Ngai, the living ritual festival of Zeliangrongs

Chaoba Kamson

From previous issue
Dining together with merry making. Then boys and girls will spend dining together, indulge in merry making, entertain drinking, eating, dancing, joking, singing etc. They may arrange a programme of waving of sash (pazeimei). Some boys look after the village singing the village guarding songs for the whole night. That is called Kailong Lonmei.

The 2nd Day – The great festival (Tamchan-Ngai) : All the members of both Males’ and Girls’ Dormitories will bring their respective Tamchas (Tamcha means gift/subscription in the form of meat, vegetables etc. to their respective dormitories). The deceased family also brings last presentation called Thei-Tamcha to the respective dormitories in the name of the person(s) who died in the previous year. Some quantity of Tamcha will be given to the owners of Males’ and Girls’ Dormitories as a custom. A Banja who acts as priest will perform chanting of Tamsuan (Chutney) for two senior most Ganpis and Zousuan (wine) for two Tunapis (Two heads of Girls’ Dormitory. After the lunch the members of Males’ Dormitory will collect Tamsuan and Zousuan in the form of money shouting Rilai Huai from the four persons mentioned above. This is known as Tamchan-Ngai.

Ritual Dance (Tamchan Laam) : In the evening, only girls will perform a dance to (i) the House of Village Authority (Peikai) (ii) the House of Old Women (Kengjapui Kaibung) and (iii) the House of Village Elders (Ganchang Kaibung). This dance is known as Tamchan Laam (Tam means chutney of vegetables, Chan means offering/request and Laam means dance.
Objective of Tamchanmei : The objective of Tamchanmei is to go and offer prayer at the above mentioned institutions not to cause any kind of illness, diseases of hardship to boys and girls for coming year.

Blessing Hymns : “Au. Haipou Tingkao Ragwang, today we are celebrating the Gaan-Ngai festival with a happy mood and other dried fish, holy wine, salt-cake, puan (coins) to you. We present to the above institutions in honour to the holy places, So, we pray to you to give a lasting and prosperous institution in future.

The 3rd Day – The Youth Festival : The 3rd day is called Tuna Gaan-Ngai (Festival of the Youth). In the morning Khangbon (Head of Males’ Dormitory) and two Tunapis (Heads of Girls’ Dormitory) will bring Tamcha to their respective dormitories. An old man will recite Tamsuan and Zousuan hymns. After lunch, the youth of Males’ Dormitory will shout Rilai Huai holding a stick of firewood in their hands and proceed to both houses of Khangbons and Tunapis and chant Tamsuan and Zousuan praising for abundant gifts and wine. The Males’ Dormitory beseeches Tingkao Ragwang to give longevity of life and strength to both Khangbons and Tunapis. In the evening, boys and girls perform Khangbon Kadimei Laam, a farewell dance in honour of both Khangbons who have been promoted to a higher post called Ganchang.

To be contd

Source: The Sangai Express



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