Kohima: Thousands of men and women from the Angami Naga tribe participated in a traditional stone-pulling ceremony as part of the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Northern Angami Youth Organisation (NAYO) on Wednesday. The event coincided with the ongoing Hornbill Festival in the state.
The stone pulling ceremony is practised by the Angami Naga tribe. Huge stones are engraved as monoliths to commemorate jubilant occasions.
Traditionally performed only by men, the ceremony on Wednesday involved about 1,200 people who came in full traditional attire to pull a huge stone weighing 12 tons from the Chiechama village to Chiephobozou village, covering a distance of about 3 km.
Adding to the weight of the stone, with dimensions of 19.6 ft (length), 4.4 ft (breadth) and 2.3 ft (height), was the 'Likre', a wooden bed for the stone weighing about 2,000 kg itself. The stone was laid above the 'Likre' and pulled by thousands of men.
The top five wrestlers of the community stood above the stone and led the way, as guides directed and instructed the ‘stone pullers’. This added about 600 extra kg from the load of the wrestlers.
Although it is located 39 km from Kisama Heritage village, the venue witnessed about 3,000 enthusiastic locals taking part in the ceremony. Local and traditional products were gifted to tourists who attended the occasion.
It is believed in some Angami Naga villages that the stone pulling ceremony has a specific season to be performed which is done before the sowing of seeds of the next harvest. In case of breaching the said season, it is believed to bring bad omen to the community.
Although the stone pulling ceremony is traditionally performed only by men, hundreds of women clad in traditional attire led the congregation on Wednesday, which took about three hours to cover the stretch.
The celebration of NAYO was graced by Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio who lauded the efforts of the youth body in uniting the people and promoting the traditional event.