Tradition and Culture of Nagaland: A Land of Naga Tradition
Nagaland is an Indian state in the northeast. It is one of the smallest states called “The Switzerland of the East.” It shares borders with Assam in the west and north, Myanmar and Burma in the east, Arunachal Pradesh in the north, and Manipur in the south. Nagaland is between the Brahmaputra Valley and Burma. It is in a small strip of mountainous land.
Nagaland’s capital is Kohima, and Dimapur is its biggest city. In the state, there are the Barel and Jamphu mountains, as well as the Saramati, Jaffu, and Kohima mountain tops. The Jhanjhi, Melak, Doyong, Dikhu, Teeju, and Dhansiri rivers are very important in the state. Lechham Lake is also there. About 68% of the people who live in Nagaland depend on farming. Potatoes, rice, lentils, corn, tobacco, millets, corn, sugarcane, oilseeds, and fibres are the main crops raised here. Many people in the state grow humming, causing soil erosion and loss of soil nutrients.
Nagas used to live in Nagaland, and each Naga tribe group has a different way of organizing its social life. Nagaland is the only state where the number of people living there decreased from 2001 to 2011.
History of Nagaland State (Ancient History of Tribes)
Little is known about the area’s early history, which is now Nagaland. However, in the 12th and 13th centuries, the Ahom kingdom in the neighbouring Assam state talked about the Naga people, their economy, and their practices.
When the Burmese of Myanmar invaded Assam in 1816, it led to the establishment of the oppressive Burman regime in 1819. This rule was held until the British took over Assam in 1826 and made hand-hunting illegal. During World War II, in 1944, the “Battle of Kohima” was fought. The British and Indian troops worked together to beat the Japanese.
After India was freed in 1947, the Naga people moved to a small part of the state of Assam. But through a strong national effort, the Naga community was also asked to form a political group. This effort led to a lot of violence, and in 1955, the Indian Army was also sent to bring things back to normal.
After the Naga leader and the Government of India agreed in 1957, the Nagas who lived in the mountainous areas of Assam and the Nagas who lived in the Tuensang Frontier Division were put under the same government. This area became known as Naga Hills Twensang. Even though the deal was made, the Indian government started getting drunk, not paying taxes, sabotaging the army, and attacking it.
In 1960, the Naga people decided Nagaland should join the Indian Union. Naga Hills Twensang was changed to Nagaland in 1961. Nagaland became independent on December 1, 1963, and the office was set up freely in 1964.
Insurgent operations continued, and the number of robberies in the area increased. Talks stopped the uprising, and in March 1975, the state was put under direct presidential rule.
The National Socialist Council of Nagaland was formed in 1980. It is a strong separatist extremist group.
Language of Nagaland
Nagaland is the only place in India where there are as many different languages as there are in Nagaland. About 36 different languages and dialects are used by the people of Nagaland. The major languages here are Angami, Aao, Chang, Konyak, Lotha, Sangmat, and Sema. Indian English is the state’s official language, and most people in Nagaland speak it.
Religion in Nagaland
Nagaland is “the most Baptist state in the world” and “the only predominantly Baptist state in the world.” Christianity is the most common faith in the state. About 98% of Naga people are Christians, while only 7.7% are Hindu and 0.5% are Muslim.
Culture and Tradition
Nagaland is home to many different tribes and sub-tribes. This community has been around for a very long time. All of the Naga groups have different ways of living together. All groups are different from each other because they have different traditions, holidays, and values. The Naga society has a lot of traditional history. They have lived together peacefully in the state for hundreds of years, and cultural movement has grown strong among the different groups.
Nagaland has 16 main tribes in Angami, Au, Chakseng, Chang, Dimasa Kachari, Khianyugam, Konyak, Lotha, Foam, Rengma, Sangatam, Sumi, Yimchunger Kuki, and Jeliang. The biggest Naga tribes are the Konyak, Angami, Aos, Lothas, and Sumi. The people from the tribe who live in the rural part of Nagaland have kept the old rituals and habits alive. People from Nagaland are known for being friendly and working hard. They have done a lot to help the state’s social and cultural growth. The Hornibal event is a good way to see Nagaland’s culture.
Food of Nagaland
The main cuisine of Nagaland is rice, which they eat with meat or veggies. People from Nagaland like to eat a lot of chilli and semis. Their main source of carbs is rice, and they like to eat boiled vegetables and meat with a pickle made from bamboo shoots and beans called “Tahu.”
Meat dried or smoked is an important part of food and has useful uses for farmers, foragers, and hunters. Nagas eat the meat of almost all animals and birds, including pork, chicken, beef, fish, cats, dogs, birds, crabs, spiders, and many more. Some popular foods are fish rice, bamboo shoot fry, and roasted duck.
Their food is spicy because they use a lot of different kinds of peppers and a lot of ginger and garlic when they cook. Nagas also like to use Sichuan pepper, which is a well-known spice. In Nagaland, fermented bamboo shoots with pork and fish are often eaten.
Koat pitha is a typical Naga sweet made with rice flour, bananas, and sugar. The Naga tribes’ most popular drink is rice beer, which comes in three different kinds: Zutho, Ruhi, and Dzutse.
Traditional Costume of Nagaland people
Nagas like colourful patterns and their culture and traditions are very important. The traditional clothes of Nagaland look very pretty and colourful. Nagaland’s beautiful shawls are a famous part of their traditional clothing. It is a common and well-known dress in Nagaland, but each tribe wears it differently. The pattern of the shawl shows how important a person is in society. The Aos clan is known for the elaborate blanket that honours warriors. It is called “Tsungkotepsu.”
Most people wear white cloth with six black bands at each end. The women of the Zemei tribe only wear white clothes and skirts with a very thin black and red border. Angami women wear a dress called “Neikhro,” a sleeveless top called “Vatchi,” and a white skirt called “Pfemhou” as their everyday dress. The Ze-liangs-rong, a mix of Zemis, Liangmais, and Rongmei, wear clothes similar to those of the Angami tribe.
Ao women wear skirts that are about a meter and a quarter long. About two-thirds of the meter is wrapped around the waist, and the outer edge is sewn into the surface for a better hold. Ao skirts include the ‘Azu signup su’ with red and yellow-black stripes, the ‘Ngami su’, or fishtail skirt, and the ‘Yongzujangau’, or cucumber seed skirt, which is red on a black background.
Besides the scarf, the kilt is the dress men in the state wear. It is usually black and has cowries stitched on it. Naga men wear red headdresses, black hornbills trimmed with white feathers, and the canine teeth of wild boars.
Folk Dance and Music of Nagaland
Music and dance are important parts of the state’s everyday life. Every event has meals, dancing, and a lot of fun. Folk songs have been passed down from one family to the next. These songs often talk about bravery, beauty, love, and kindness. Most of the time, the dance is done by groups of people in perfect time to music played on musical instruments like Asem (drums), Tati, Mouth Organ, Bamboo Flute, etc.
Their unique jewellery and outfits make the traditional dances more colourful and lively. Folk songs tell stories about bravery, important historical events, and love. Their dances and songs will make you want to move your feet, which is what tourists love and enjoy most.
Festivals of Nagaland
Most of Nagaland’s events involve farming, and people get together to have fun at them. All of the people in the community are very excited about the festival, and all of the state’s festivals are marked with a lot of noise and excitement.
Sekrenyi, Moatsu, Tokku Angoma, and Tulani are important events in the state. The Hornibal event has been held every year from December 1 to December 7 since 2000. The government of Nagaland puts it on. The Hornbill event is named after the state bird of this place, the Hannibal.
The Hornbill Festival is the best chance to see the wide range of Naga food, hard work, music, dance, and traditions of Nagaland since all the important groups and societies of Naga people go to the festival.
Art and Craft of Nagaland
Nagaland’s people are very good at making things like bamboo work, woodcarving, blacksmithing, and pottery. People also make money from things like woodworking and weaving in their homes.
Nagaland is known for making blankets with unique designs and patterns. The Wanchoo, Konyak, and Phom tribes make beautiful cane, bamboo carvings, and wood carvings. Pottery is only done by women and is made with light brown clay that is sticky and plastic. A lot of people in the area also make things with blacksmithing.
Nagaland is a beautiful place with high hills, large areas of forest, and a lot of natural beauty. It is often called “The Switzerland of the East” because of its beauty. Nagaland has a lot of interesting places that show off its rich cultural history. One place that shows how brave the people of Khonoma town are is Khonoma Gate. People made the gate to protect themselves from the British, so people came from all over the world to see it. Other well-known places in the state include Japfu Peak, Dzukou Valley, Tuli town Naganimora, Meluri, and Changtongya. These beautiful places have a good vibe that helps tourists feel better.
The Kohima Museum, Ohima Village, Dozhu Koi Valley, Lung Dham Village, Mata Yimi Kyang, the coldest place in the state, Fftsero, and many other places are worth seeing here. Jaffu Peak is 15 km south of Kohima. In these mountain areas, you can find a tree called Rodo Dredon. They are the tallest things on Earth. His name is in the Guinness Book of Records because of this. Other places in Kohima for tourists are Zukoye Valley, Shilloy Lake, the State Museum, the World War II Cemetery, the Heritage Museum, Khonoma Village, Kohima Janthalaya, Intaki Wildlife Sanctuary, etc.