Kohima: The Sumi Nagas celebrated ‘Ahuna’, the premier festival of the tribe, at Shilpgram NEZCC Guwahati, Assam, with the theme “Pruning our Identity ‘.
The event was organised by the Sumi Students’ Union Guwahati on November 10. Commissioner & Secretary, Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Y Kikheto Sema was the chief guest of the event.
Addressing the gathering, Sema highlighted the significance and relevance of Ahuna festival in the 21st century, stating that 71% of the Naga people live in rural areas and are engaged in unique jhum cultivation with 11-12 phases of activities in a year.
Sema said that like the “Ahuna”, the Assamese and Lothas also celebrates Magh Bihu/ Bhogali Bihu and Tokhu Emong as a post-harvest festival. The Sumis celebrate Ahuna after a year-long hard work to thank the almighty for the bountiful harvest while also welcoming the new agricultural year.
The entire community feast on the rice Ahu-na, first rice cooked in bamboo segments.
Reflecting on the theme, Sema said pruning is when you remove unwanted branches from a tree and improve every branch that bears fruits. He encouraged the students to work hard and bear fruits.
While elaborating on the significance of Ahuna Festival and traditional practices, Sema said that as farmers celebrate the festival after a year-long hard work, likewise, students should also study hard to become successful.
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He observed that change should take place in the traditional practices which are not applicable in the present day, but at the same time one should protecting the culture and respect other cultures without adopting it. “Misuse of our culture, identity by outsiders in our own land is unacceptable,” stated Sema.
While visualising the rich traditional and cultural practices of the Nagas and the need to preserve it, he said that the government has marketed the state as the ‘land of festivals’ which has taken well nationally and internationally particularly the Hornbill Festival.
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