The Angami are one of the major Naga tribes of Nagaland, India. Kohima Village or “bara bosti” is considered the second largest village in Asia.
The territory of the Angamis is made up of the present Kohima district, which is divided into four regions:
- The 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
- The Western Angami (Jotsoma, Khonoma, Mezoma, Sechuma, Secu-zubza,kiruphema,Peducha,Mengoujuma,thekreju, Dzulake) in the west of Kohima,
- The Northern Angami like Kewhima, Chedema, Meriema, Chiechama, Nerhema, Chiephobozou, Tuophema, Gariphema,Dihoma, Rusoma, etc.. in the north of Kohima. and
- The Chakhro Angami: Mostly this are small villages in around Dimapur district prominent big village being Medziphema,Chumukedima Sovima, Razaphe etc..other villages include Piphema, Tsiepama, Kirha, Pherima etc
The former Eastern Angami have separated off and are now recognised as Chakhesang.
The Angami, known for their ecological consciousness use their watercourses for terraced wet-rice cultivation; because of this labour-invested cultivation, land is the important property form among the Angami traditionally.
Social stratification in not observed in the Angami community. Traditionally, property is divided equally among sons with daughters also receiving a share; in modern families it is generally 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 Angamis celebrate SEKRENYI in the month of February. It normally falls on the 25th day of the Angami month of “KEZEI”. The ten-day festival is also called PHOUSANYI by the Angamis.
The festival follows a circle of ritual and ceremony, the first being “KIZIE”. A few drops of rice water taken from the top of the jug, called “ZUMHO” are put in to leaves and placed at the three main posts of the house by the lady of the household. The first day begins with all young and old going to the village well to bathe.
In the night, two young men will go to the well to clean it. Some of the village youth guard the well in the night as no one is allowed to fetch water after cleaning the well. The womenfolk, especially, are not allowed to touch the well water. Hence they have to see that water is fetched for the household before the well cleaning.Early the next morning, all the young men of the village rise to wash themselves at the well. The whole process is carried out in a ritualistic manner. The young men will don two new shawls ( the white Mhoushü and the black Lohe) and sprinkle water on their breast, knees and on their right arm. This ceremony is called “DZUSEVA” (touching the sleeping water) and it assures them that all their ills and misfortunes have been washed away by the purified well-water.
On their return from the well, a cock is sacrificed by throttling it with the bare hands. It is taken as a good omen when the right leg falls over the left leg as the cock falls down. The innards of the fowl are taken out hung outside the house for the Village elders to come and inspect it. Beginning from the fourth day of the festival, a three-day session of singing and feasting starts.
The THEKRA HIE is the best part of the festival where 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 for hunting. The most important ceremony falls on the eighth day when the bridge-pulling or gate-pulling is performed or inter-village visits are exchanged. Until the close of the festival no one goes to the fields and all field work ceases during this season of feasting and song.
The young unmarried girls with closely shaven heads sit down with the bronzed youth sing tunes bygone ages, recreating a past where no care touched the human soul.