The Ngada festival is celebrated by the Rengma tribe, native to Assam and Nagaland, in the northeast of India. It is one of the most popular festivals in the Nagaland. The festival resembles a kind of thanksgiving which is clearly modeled by Rengma culture. It is a post-harvest festival that celebrates a successful harvest.
Ngada, after a good harvest!
The tribal people come together and harmonize the smooth running of the festival. It is the belief of the Rengma people that the dead return to visit their homes and families during this festival. It is also during this festival that the Rengma people offer respect at the graves of their loved ones.
Unified as one, people work together and celebrate the festival with grandeur and harmony. Traditional Rengma ceremonies, dancing, singing and feasting ensue for the duration of the festival. This cultural festival elevates tourism to Nagaland, because people from other places travel to attend this festival. People believe in reducing animosity and overcoming ill will. And hence, this festival is considered an ideal opportunity to initiate peaceful auctions.
The Ngada festival is an agricultural festival. It marks the end of the year's harvest season. The festival is overseen as a time for people to rejoice, dance, sing, celebrate, feast and forgive. The celebrations last seven to eight days, varying from one place to another of the Nagaland.
The Ngada festival is celebrated every year. The festival begins either in the month of November or in the month of December. It is traditionally observed in the later stages of the month of November and continues its course until the beginning of the following month, i.e. December. It is celebrated after the harvest of crops and the weather signals for new bearings to be put in place in the fields.
The first day of the festival is dedicated to the preparation of rice beer in every home.
On the second day, the Rengma people Naga walks in the forest to pick and collect banana leaves.
The third day is marked by women visiting the graves of the deceased and placing rice beer wrapped in banana leaves. Humble offerings made to the souls of the dead are considered symbolic. It is also on this consecutive day that the dead visit their homes. The tasting of rice beer is preceded by the oldest person in the house before the rest.
On this day, men visit the graves of their deceased loved ones. Additionally, they gather outside their morungs and organize a small party in which women do not participate. Later in the day, the men strut around the village donning their ceremonial and warrior finery where the women follow them carrying beer to keep them hydrated.
This day is carried out with men visiting all the houses in the village with music and folk dance, each house offers a sign of appreciation to the men.
The sixth day of the festival is dedicated to celebrating and visiting houses in other villages.
All the people venture into the forest to collect firewood, banana leaves and vegetables for the party.
On the last and eighth day, a big party is organized and the whole village comes together to celebrate. It is believed that after the end of the great festival, dead souls return to the land of the dead. The celebration ends with three rites:
The first rite consolidates an agreement with fire in order to prevent fire accidents, the second right amends relations with rats to avoid the destruction of crops, the third rite is marked by the expulsion of evil spirits.