‘Te-l Khukhu’, a unique festival for girl child
Kohima, July 11 (EMN): To mark ‘Te-l Khukhu’ festival, the family of Dr. Hovithal Sothu, a native of Viswema, on Monday wrapped food items in ‘Nakhwu’ (a type of peepal) leaf rolled in a cone shape and pinned using split bamboo pieces, to be distributed it to girls.
Unlike other festivals in the “Land of Festivals”, ‘Te-l Khukhu’ is celebrated exclusively for girls through sharing of food.
It is observed by the people Viswema village, which is located about 22 km away from Kohima town, after the completion of paddy transplantation (end of July or the first part of August). This year, it was celebrated on July 11.
The people usually wrap food items like rice, meat, egg and cookies in the cone-shaped bowls made from Nakhwu leaves.
“Viswemi celebrates the Girl Child festival called ‘Tel-Khukhu’,” Dr. Sothu, who is also the Project Director of the Task Force for Music and Arts (TaFMA), wrote on Twitter along with a picture of little girls with their lunch served in ‘Nakhwu’.
“Power and blessings to the girl child,” he added.
During the olden days, ‘Te-l Khukhu’ was dedicated and celebrated only for the innocent head-shaven damsels. With time, head shaving among the girls was no longer practiced, but the villagers continue to keep ‘Te-l Khukhu’ alive by encouraging young girls from Viswema village to take part in the festivities every year.
The significance, origin and other details of this unique festival is being documented in a video made by the villagers.
“One day a lady saw a fully ripped Otshü bo (millet plant) in the middle of a pond. Seeing the plant, the lady asked a squirrel to pluck an ear for her but the squirrel did not return. Then the lady sent a parrot but the bird, instead, started eating the millet and never returned. Finally, the lady sent the toad for the same favour. The toad felt greatly honoured and brought her an ear of millet.
“The lady gratefully received the ear and told the toad that she would give a portion of her millet harvest. Thus, Te-l khukhu is celebrated every year in Viswema during Chünyi (end of July or the first part of August) season. ‘Te-l’ means ‘toad’ and ‘Khukhu’ means ‘share’. Therefore, ‘Te-l Khukhu’ means ‘toad’s share’,” according the video documentary uploaded by ‘The Rustic Pleasure’.
‘Unlike other festivals of the Angamis, this festival holds a special emphasis on the women as most of the activities are performed and involve them. This festival gives a higher platform to the women to break through the walls of conservative lifestyle,’ it added.