Mon: Over 4,700 Konyak women clad in traditional attire grooved in rhythm to a traditional number during last day of the three-day long Aoleng Mini Hornbill Festival in Mon town on Friday. Organised under the theme, ‘Empowering women for cultural heritage’, the day was marked to create women empowerment while preserving culture and tradition by creating a footprint for the future generations.
The attempt was to create the ‘largest Konyak traditional dance’ and enter the hallowed portals of the Guinness World Records.
Speaking to EastMojo, Tali Temjen, a choreographer, said: “To attempt the world record, they need to cross 5 minutes. Since they successfully crossed 5 minutes, they are qualified for the world record attempt.”
While the target set by the Guinness World Records was for 2,500 participants, there was almost double the number — 4707 to be precise — from 115 villages taking part in the event.
Temjen, who is also an expert in various dance forms, said: “Even for the professionals, it’s not easy to stand for three and a half hours. Professionals also get tired. So it’s amazing the way they brought so much energy. It’s hats off to them and they did it great.”
An excited performer said: “we Konyaks performed very happily. At the end of this festival, we’re all going back joyously. We haven’t seen anything like this before, witnessing it for the first time at Aoleng.”
The woman excitedly added: “It’ll be great if we make it to the records. I don’t know if people will like it, but for us, we had so much fun.”
Another performer added: “Today, we are feeling very special. Other times also, we are happy, but the joy today is different.”
Meanwhile, the attempt to create the world record was the brainchild of the Konyak Union in 2016. It inched towards reality in October last year, when the union got the consent of the Guinness World Records organisers.
Although the world record adjudicators were unable to attend the event due to security reasons, the event was officially witnessed by Veswuzo Phesao of North East Zone Cultural Centre (NEZCC), who is also a Naga traditional dance specialist, and Tali Temjen, fitness choreographer.
The Konyaks are one of the major tribes in Nagaland and are known for their unique culture and tradition. The tribal festival, ‘Aoleng’, is generally celebrated in the first week of April (1-6) every year.
Adding to this year’s festivities was the culmination of the mini Hornbill Festival with the tribal festival. The mini Hornbill is an initiative by the state government to promote the cultures and traditions of all Naga tribes.
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The unique women’s day was graced by Ayong Chang, president, Eastern Nagaland women Organisation (ENWO). The attempt to create the Guinness World Record began with the traditional blessings of ‘Her Highness’ Angun, Angh-yha of Chi (queen of Chi village). Anghs are the traditional Konyak chiefs who hold a ‘king-like’ position in Konyak society.
The event was jointly organised by the Konyak Union (KU), Konyak Students’ Union (KSU) and Konyak Nyupuh Sheko Khong (KNSK).
Results from the act, as to whether the record was created or not, were not declared till the filing of this report. It can be declared anytime between 12 hours and five days.