Dimapur, 24 February (MTNews): Sekrenyi, the premier festival of the Angami Nagas, was celebrated at State Stadium Dimapur today organized by the Angami Public Organisation (APO).

Gracing the occasion as chief guest, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio emphasized the significance of festivals in fostering community bonds. Rio highlighted how such celebrations revive ancestral traditions, and promotes peaceful coexistence and unity among the people. He underscored the essence of Sekrenyi as a unifying force, fostering familial ties and inspiring aspirations for the future. Rio stressed the importance of hard work, prudent resource management, and the detrimental effects of modern greed on the environment.

Rio said Sekrenyi marks purification of the body and sanctification of thoughts. It signifies the coming together of the community as one family, Rio said, and called upon all to revive the common ancestry and become more united in the true spirit of Sekrenyi. He expressed hope that the festival will rebuild the community’s strong foundations of unity and take the people towards a more secure and meaningful future for all sections of the society.

Emphasizing upon our exclusive customs as our biggest strength, he urged everyone to also appreciate the customs of other societies both within and outside the state, and respect each other’s beliefs and practices for peaceful coexistence.

Reflecting on Angami values, Rio emphasized honesty, truthfulness, and the transmission of cultural taboos from one generation to the next. He referenced the APO theme, “right is might,” advocating for diligence and hard work while pursuing rights. The Chief Minister called for the documentation of traditional food habits and broader cultural preservation efforts. He concluded by highlighting the Hornbill Festival as a culmination of Nagaland’s rich tribal festivals.

Mini Hornbill Festivals to boost tourism
Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton, speaking as one of the guests of honor, emphasized that the main objective behind organizing this Mini Hornbill Festival is to boost tourism and provide equal opportunities to all Naga tribes in Nagaland. Celebrating such festivals benefits local entrepreneurs by showcasing the cultural heritage of the tribes, he said.

He said that  Sekrenyi is the most important festival for Angamis and it signifies sanctification of the body by performing various ritualistic ceremonies that are religious in nature.

Patton called upon people to celebrate this festival as a purification and sanctification of present society, fostering more unity and brotherhood among neighbors and various communities in the domain districts. He appreciated the Angami community for their contribution to the progress of the state and expressed hope that they would continue to lead society towards common goals.

He encouraged everyone to live in harmony and support one another, noting that the PDA government strives to nurture each tribe’s cultural uniqueness while bringing all communities together in the spirit of harmony.

Hope for renewal, sanctification, and solution
TR Zeliang, Deputy Chief Minister and one of the guests of honor, extended Sekrenyi greetings to the Angami people and congratulated the APO for organizing the festival in a grand and impressive manner. He commended the organizers for their efforts in uniting not only the Angami community but the Nagas in general through the festival.

He further added that the organizers of Sekrenyi have chosen Dimapur, the Commercial City of the State, as the venue to celebrate Sekrenyi outside the jurisdiction of their district, which is a wise decision. He mentioned that if such a practice could be adopted by other Naga communities, Dimapur could be transformed into a new tourist destination and become the City of Mini-Hornbill Festival all year round.

Zeliang expressed his hope that the Sekrenyi Festival 2024 would be a time for the Nagas to sanctify and renew themselves as a community, fostering unity, especially in the logical conclusion of the Indo-Naga Peace Talks. He shared the PDA Government’s desire for both negotiating parties, namely the NSCN (IM) and the 7 NNPGs on one hand, and the Government of India on the other, to reach an amicable settlement with the signing of an agreement – one that is inclusive, honorable, and acceptable, aspired by the Naga people.

Zeliang mentioned that each Naga community celebrates its unique festival in their respective districts at different times, dates, and months throughout the year. Consequently, it becomes challenging to fully recognize the significance of each other’s festivals. However, the celebration of the Hornbill Festival at Kisama annually serves as a unifying event, bringing together all tribes where every tribe showcases their cultural dance, adorned in full traditional attire.

The festival was attended by special guests Minister PHED N Jacob Zhimomi, Advisor & MLA for Tribal Affairs H Tovihoto Ayemi, MLA and Advisor for Labour Employment and Skill Development Excise Moatoshi Longkumer.

The festival started with the unfurling of the Sekrenyi Flag by the chief guest and flags of Angami villages by the respective Village Council Chairmen. Razouvotuo Chatsu, President APO, shared the significance of Sekrenyi, also called Phousanyi, celebrated annually in February. He described Sekrenyi as the biggest festival of the Angami tribe, a purification festival to wash off all past sins, renewing and cleansing the body and soul to bring forth unity among all communities of Nagaland.

Zhato Kimho, President of Chakhroma Public Organisation, gave the welcome address, and a folk song was presented by the Chakhroma Public Organisation. Folk dances were performed by the Southern Angami Public Organisation, Western Angami Public Organisation, and Northern Angami Public Organisation. The Angami Students’ Union presented ‘A Ra Kezivi,’ and Rev Lhouzovi-u Shüya, Pastor of Chümoukedima Village Baptist Church, pronounced the prayer. The vote of thanks was given by K Neibou Sekhose, Co-Convenor of the Sekrenyi Planning Committee. The festival included a unity dance and various indigenous games.

The festival was organized by the Angami Public Organisation in collaboration with Angami Youth Organisation, Angami Women Organisation, Angami Sports Association, Angami Students’ Union, Angami Gazetted Officers Krotho, and Angami GB Association. It was sponsored by the Nagaland Tourism Department.

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