Angami Naga

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Angami
Total population
Approx. 200,000 [1]
Languages
Tenyidie (Sino-Tibetan)
Religion
Christianity (98.22%),
Hinduism (0.74%),
Animism (0.71%).[2]
Related ethnic groups
Other Naga peoples
A dance festival of the Angami Naga tribe

The Angamis are one of the major Naga tribes [3] of Nagaland, India. They are known for the Sekrenyi celebrations that take place every February.

Division[edit]

The territory of the Angamis is made up of the present Kohima district, which is divided into four regions:

  • Southern Angami (Japfüphiki-Viswema, Khuzama, Kidima, Kigwema, Jakhama, Phesama, Mima, Mitelephe, Pfuchama, Kezoma, Chazuba, Chakhaba, Kezo Town) in the south of Kohima on the foothills of Mt Japfü.
  • Western Angami (Jotsoma, Khonoma, Mezoma, Sechuma, Secü-zubza, Kiruphema, Peducha, Mengoujuma, Thekrejü, Dzülake) in the west of Kohima.
  • Northern Angami (Kewhima, Chedema, Meriema, Chiechama, Nerhema, Chiephobozou, Tuophema, Gariphema, Dihoma, Rusoma, etc.) in the north of Kohima.
  • Chakhro Angami (mostly small villages around Dimapur district, with large villages being Medziphema, Chumukedima, Sovima, Razaphe, etc.; other villages include Piphema, Tsiepama, Kirha, Pherima, etc.)

The former Eastern Angami have separated and are now recognised as Chakhesang.

Culture and religion[edit]

Captain Butler and assembled Nagas; seated left to right: Lt. Ridgeway, Capt. Butler, Angami Naga interpreter Sezele of Chephama, Mikir coolie. Standing left to right: Angami Naga, Inspector of Police, Angami Naga Dotsole of Chedema, Angami Naga, Rengma Naga, Commander in Chief Manipur Army, (sacred tree with skulls), ?, 2 Rengma Nagas, Dr Brown - Political Agent, Manipur

The Angami Nagas are hill people depending basically on cultivation and livestock-rearing. The Angamis are known for terraced wet-rice cultivation; because of this labor-intensive cultivation, land is the most important form of property among the Angamis. They are one of the only two groups of Nagas out of the seventeen who practice wet-rice cultivation on terraces made on the hill slopes. This allows them to cultivate the same plot year after year. They depend, to a very small extent, on slash-and-burn cultivation. Angamis were traditionally warriors, the Angami men spent majority of their time in warfare with hostile villages and taking heads. Since 1879, when the British succeeded in annexing their territory, the inter-village feuds have come to an end. With the introduction of Christianity in the region several Angamis changed their faith to Christianity.

Social stratification is not observed in the Angami community. Traditionally, property was divided equally among sons with daughters also receiving a share; in modern families it is shared among children. Among the Angamis, the youngest male in the family inherits the parental home, Kithoki, which also means he is responsible for their care until they pass away.

The Angami Christians are divided into five major denominations - Baptist, Christian revival, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal and Seventh-day Adventist. Baptist's constitute more than 80% of the total Angami Christian population and all the Baptist churches in Angami region are under the Angami Baptist Church Council.

Although more than 98% of the Angamis are Christians, they are one of the last Naga tribes having an animist population. The Angami Animists practice a religion known as Pfutsana. According to the 1991 Census, there were 1,760 Angami practitioners of the religion, but 10 years later, the figure had halved to 884.[4] Currently there are several hundred adherents of the Pfutsana religion, scattered around in nine villages of the southern Kohima district.[5] A religious organization, Japfuphiki Pfutsana, was founded in 1987 to streamline various indigenous religious practices among the Angamis.

Sekrenyi[edit]

The Angamis celebrate a ten-day festival called Sekrenyi [6] (sometimes also called Phousanyi) in the month of February. The term Sekrenyi literally means sanctification festival (sekre = sanctification; nyi = feast; thenyi = festival). The festival takes places after the harvest and falls on the twenty-fifth day of the Angami month Kezei (January – February).

The festival follows a circle of ritual and ceremony, the first being kizie. A few drops of rice water taken from the top of a type of jug called zumho and are put on leaves. These are then placed at the three main posts of the house by the lady of the household. On the first day, all the young and old go to the village well to bathe.

In the night, two young men clean the well. Some of the village youth guard the well, as no one is allowed to fetch water after the cleaning. As women are especially not allowed to touch the well water at this time, they must make sure that water is fetched for the household before then. Early next morning, all the young men of the village attend the washing ritual. The young men wear two new shawls (the white Mhoushü and the black Lohe) and sprinkle water on their chests, knees, and right arms. This ceremony is called dzüseva (touching the sleeping water); in it, the well water symbolically washes away all their ills and misfortunes.

On their return from the well, a rooster is sacrificed. It is taken as a good omen when the right leg falls over the left leg as it falls down. The innards of the rooster are then hung outside the house for the village elders to inspect. A three-day session of singing and feasting starts on the fourth day of the festival.

The most interesting part of the festival is the thekra hie. The thekra hie is a part of the festival when the young people of the village sit together and sing traditional songs throughout the day. Jugs of rice beer and plates of meat are placed before the participants. On the seventh day, the young men go hunting. The most important ceremony falls on the eighth day when the bridge-pulling, or gate-pulling, is performed and inter-village visits are exchanged. All field work ceases during this season of feasting and song.

Famous people[edit]

The following is a list of prominent people belonging to the Angami Naga tribe:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.nagalandonline.in/Profile/districts/Kohima.asp
  2. ^ Table ST-14, Indian Census of 2001
  3. ^ "Nagaland at a glance". Nagaland.nic.in. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 
  4. ^ Table ST-14, Table ST-14a, Census of India 2001
  5. ^ "nscn: Japfuphiki Pfutsana annual feast". Nscn.livejournal.com. 2006-03-26. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 
  6. ^ "Festival of Angami Naga". Nagaland.nic.in. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Alban von Stockhausen: Imag(in)ing the Nagas: The Pictorial Ethnography of Hans-Eberhard Kauffmann and Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf. Arnoldsche, Stuttgart 2014, ISBN 978-3-89790-412-5.
  • Durkheim, E. and Mauss, 1963. Primitive Classification. (trans. R. Needham), London, Free Press.
  • Edsman, C.M., 1987. ‘Fire’, The Encyclopaedia of Religion, vol. 5, ed. by M. Eliade. pp. 340–46. New York, Macmillan Publishing Company.
  • Hutton, J.H., 1969. The Angami Nagas, Bombay, Oxford University Press. (first published in 1921 by Macmillan & Co. London).
  • Joshi, Vibha. A Matter of Belief: Christian Conversion and Healing in North-East India (Berghahn Books; 2012) 298 pages; a study of Christian conversion and the revival of traditional animist culture among the Angami Naga.
  • Rudhardt, J., 1987. ‘Water’, The Encyclopaedia of Religion, vol. 15, ed. by M. Eliade, pp. 350–61. New York, Macmillan Publishing Company.
  • Stirn, Aglaja & Peter van Ham. The Hidden world of the Naga: Living Traditions in Northeast India. London: Prestel.
  • Oppitz, Michael, Thomas Kaiser, Alban von Stockhausen & Marion Wettstein. 2008. Naga Identities: Changing Local Cultures in the Northeast of India. Gent: Snoeck Publishers.
  • Kunz, Richard & Vibha Joshi. 2008. Naga – A Forgotten Mountain Region Rediscovered. Basel: Merian.

External links[edit]