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Villagers of Halang have begun celebrating the two days long important festival of Tangkhul community ‘Chumpha Phanit (Post-Harvest Festival)’ from today.
Chumpha Phanit is among the three most important agricultural festivals of Tangkhul community and the other two are Luita Phanit, Mangkhap Phanit. The festival is one of the most significant festivals of Tangkhul community especially for the married women as this festival marks a change of hands and exchange of responsibility.
In olden days, the menfolk of the village used to take out their bows, spears, knives, axes and others one day before the festival and keep them in their open courtyard and then they would go to the forest in search of crabs. The menfolk used to collect crabs and soft reddish clay of soil, spend the night in the forest and return only the next day with the crabs and clay.
The womenfolk later put the live crabs carefully moulded with the clay and put inside the granary. As mentioned earlier, a significant part of this festival is handing over of responsibilities to the newly married women. It is during this festival, the mother-in-law hands over the charge of the granary to her daughter-in-law after due process and observance of ‘Chum-Sin-Sa’.
According to Tangkhul custom and tradition, Chum-Sin-Sa is the practice whereby the parents of the bride has to offer certain animals to the groom family for a feast to announce that their daughter is capable of managing the house of her in-laws. Only after these rituals, the mother-in-law hands over the responsibility of the granary and house to the wife of their son.
Lovers are usually betrothed or married off during spring season and not in other season. The newly married women would help her-in-law family in tilling the field, transplanting the rice and harvesting the paddy and only through this phase of work, and then she would be recognised as the ‘Akhaivaiva’ (mistress of the house).
This recognition is only a process to entrust the responsibility of the kitchen. The ceremony of Chum-Sin-Sa is a must to give complete responsibility to the daughter-in-law.
The village authority or elders usually announce the date for this festival only after the whole village have completed their paddy harvest of the year. There is no fixed date for the said festival, and it depends on the completion of the harvest of the village. During this festival, the elders among the women folk invoke blessing from the creator to sustain their harvest.
They invoke for a bountiful granary so that it will sustain them throughout the year before the next harvest. The womenfolk make sticky rice bread made and share them with families, friends, neighbours and villagers and concluded the Chumpha Phanit with merry making.
Today, hundreds of local and guests witnessed the opening of Halang Chumpha Phanit at Zingkat Wonra. The village authority of Halang on this auspicious celebration, while acknowledging his presence at the festival requested MLA of Ukhrul assembly constituency, Alfred Kanngam Arthur to open Chumpha Phanit of Halang village to which he readily accepted.
During the celebration, the MLA appealed the villagers to preserve and promote the aged old tradition. He also stated that it is high time to recognise the good of others and learn to inculcate the spirit of forgiveness and values of humanity.
“Democracy already existed during our forefather days. We should revive that old age tradition and Halang with a huge population can set an example and send a clear message to the rest of the Tangkul community,” said Alfred.
He informed that it was his maiden visit to Halang village and shared that Tangkhuls has every right to progress to a brighter future. He wished the gathering that the celebration would sow seed of love, forgiveness and unity among the villagers in particular and Tangkhul community in general.
The villagers had set up stalls at Zingkat Wonra to sell the products from the field including rice bread and vegetables, and many people were seen flocking at the stalls.