The Nazhu Khou festival of the Pochury-Naga lasts for ten days, from February 24th to March 5th.


• It is observed by a small group of 28 households who uphold ancestral faith.

• Early Christians of Müluori stopped observing Nazhu due to conflicts with Christian beliefs.

• Mainstream Christian community however slowly begun to recognize and celebrate Nazhu Khou as a cultural heritage.

• Animistic rituals are not observed by mainstream Christians during the festival.

• Practitioners of the ancestral religion continue to celebrate Nazhu Khou as per their traditions.

• Preparation for the festival starts in the days leading up to it by the Laniri Nale (animist believers) community members.

• During the festival, domestic chores, weaving, craftwork, and fieldwork are considered taboo.

Pochury meluri

• Women prepare large quantities of rice and millet and make rice brew for consumption during the festival.

• Men engage in crafting bamboo mugs for rice beer and basketry work.

• All activities stop on the eve of Nazhu Khou and resume after the festival ends.

• Festivities during Nazhu Khou include feasting, singing, dancing, and playing indigenous games.

• Rituals and taboo observation periods are conducted for purification.

• The erection of a bamboo totem called Awuthrüu marks the beginning of Nazhu Khou.

• Christian homes erect the totem between February 20 to 24, while animist believers do so on February 24.

• The totem symbolizes male headcount and potential future warriors.

• Men who had taken enemy head trophies are not eligible to erect the totem because in their act of valour they had attained the status of merit.

Pochury crossbow

(Source: Sentila T Yanger, Oral Traditions, Myths & Legends of India, published by The Indian Trust for Rural Heritage and Development (ITRHD)

(Photo courtesy: Potsiesie Kajiri)

Mokokchung Times

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