Rengmas celebrate Ngada in Dimapur
DIMAPUR, NOVEMBER 28
The Rengma community celebrated Ngada, the seven-day premier festival of togetherness, with great enthusiasm and much fanfare at Agri Expo site, Dimapur on Friday.
The Nagaland government has granted two days restricted holidays to the Rengma community people every year to celebrate their premier festival of rejoicing, singing, dancing and eating together. Acknowledging the government’s move, president of Rengma Hoho Dimapur (RHD) P Keppen said the policy of the government is to preserve the Naga identity and also to strengthen our culture and heritage.
He said this while delivering the Ngada greetings at the celebration. Keppen also said while the government servants are availing the restricted holidays for the festivals, they should not abstain from celebrations and should work towards preserving one’s culture and heritage.
“We are all aware that cultureless people have no identity, so they are lost as a tribe or community. Rengmas should not become a loss tribe for our own doing or because of Christianity. At any cost, we have to preserve our culture and heritage,” he asserted.
He further stated that singing songs in native melody or tune is not a sin against the tenets of Christianity and also singing folk songs or dancing traditional dances is not wrong. Therefore, he called upon the Rengma community to do away with the misconception about culture and tradition and instead preserve and promote own culture in order to protect our race and identity. He also urged upon NGOs like hohos, church, students union, village councils etc. to come forward and promote their culture.
Enlightening the gathering on the significance of Ngada festival, former minister Nillo Rengma explained that the most important significance of the Ngada is to forgive one another before the celebration begins.
Stating that Ngada is celebrated to preserve identity and culture, he said if there is no culture, there will be no identity, tradition and customs of any tribe or community.
On Rengma tribe becoming a scheduled tribe, Nillo said, “Rengma Nagas became a schedule tribe in India because of our distinct culture and traditions. We have our own culture, traditions, customs, traditional dresses, languages, customary practices etc. so we became one of the tribes in India.” Recalling the age-old tradition of the Rengmas when forefathers worshipped unknown spirits and gods, Nillo reminded the gathering that this practice had been given up and every Rengma is now worshipping the living God. So he exhorted the community that living as a Rengma Naga tribe is not against the Bible and that celebrating Ngada signifies preserving the identity as Rengma Naga tribe.
The festival was organized by Rengma Hoho Dimapur in partnership with North East Zone Cultural Centre (NEZCC). Presentation of warrior dances, folk songs, cultural dances and indigenous competitions marked the celebration.