AOLEANG MONYU - KONYAK TRIBE
The entire Konyak Community of Nagaland, observe Aoleang Monyu in the first week of Aoleang Lee (April) every year since time immemorial. Aoleang is observed after completion of sowing of seeds in the new fields and also to mark the end of the old year and to welcome the New Year beginning with spring when a riot of flowers in every hue start to bloom. It is a time to ask Almighty God for bountiful harvest of crops in that very year. The Aoleang Monyu is spread over six days.Each day has separate names and different significance: (1) Hoi Lai Yah Nyih(2) Yin Mok Pho Nyih (3) Yin MokShek Nyih (4) Lingnyu Nyih (5) Lingha Nyih and(6) Lingshan Nyih.
The first day is called "HOI LAI YAHNYIH" which means the preparation day of the Aoleang Monyu. On this day every arrangement is made for the Aoleang,like collection of firewood, banana leaves, vegetables etc. The rice-beer is also stored on this day. New clothes are woven and all necessary ornaments are prepared. On this day, the head of the family goes to the jhum field and sacrifices a chicken and sprinkles its hot blood on the "WUMJONG"altar with an invocation to the supreme Power for helping to grow crops well.By taking out the intestine, he predicts the future of his family. A leg of chicken with food is given to the neighbor of the new jhum field of that year.The food is carefully put into leaves and brought home and given to the family members after the prayers and ceremony. On that day also, a stage called"Aoleang WAKAM" is constructed in every "PANS" Morung for the dancing parties.
The second day is called "YIN MOK PHONYIH". The domestic animals like buffaloes, mithuns, cows and pigs etc. have to be searched and roped in and tethered to a post to be killed during the Aoleang. In addition, young boys who have not yet joined in head-hunting were taken to the jungles for proxyhead-hunting. On their return from the jungles, the next day young boys and girls have to be tattooed.
The third day is called "YIN MOK SHEKNYIH" which means the day for killing of animals. On this day, the green signal for the start of the festival is given by hoisting of a well-decorated bamboo Flag "KOIP HON'G".Right after the hoisting, the young men start playing the log drum and go to respective houses to kill the animals. All the men gathered at the Morung will have the best chosen food and rice-beer before they go to their houses. The youngsters in the age group between 15 to 20 years together kill some domestic animals and take the meat to their parents after they enjoy the day.
The fourth day is called "LINGNYUNYIH" which means the greatest day among the six days of Aoleang Monyu. On this day, men and women wear beautiful ornaments, and spend the whole day in community feasts, amusements, dances and merrymaking. Every house prepares the best feast and shares it with friends,relatives and neighbors. In the afternoon, all the men go to the main entrance gate of the village and have a feast there and also teach the young men the art of head-hunting. On their return from the place called "PEJONG" which means 'entrance gate of the village', the men group themselves according to different Morungs and start dancing. Led by their leaders, they visit each other's Morung and express each other’s good and bad qualities through songs.
Thenormal themes of the songs are victory over the enemy, asking Almighty God for bountiful crops etc. The dance party holds the enemy's head in their hands and displays in front of the other Morungs their victory over their enemies. In the evening, all the groups gather at a place called "SHAOCHONG" where the heads, legs and hands of enemies are kept. All the groups dance together and fire the guns. The old and young men who can shoot go to their own houses with loaded guns and fire in front of their houses to signify the "LINGNYUNYIH".
The fifth day is called "LINGHA NYIH". This day is observed by honoring each other; the old men are honored by the young; young boys and their parents call on their married sisters and daughters respectively and offer them the best feasts; married daughters also visit their parents and offer grand feasts to their parents. On this day, families of the dead visit the burial sites of their dead relatives and pay their last homage to the departed souls. A special feast is arranged on this day to renew the friendship made by parents and to make the friendship last for posterity among the descendants. They also visit permanently declared household friends and exchange well-prepared food items.Permanently-declared household friendship continues for years together and the best portions of meat are exchanged between these households.
The sixth day is called "LINGSHANNYIH" which means final day of the Aoleang Monyu. The day is spent in cleaning the village and houses which were made dirty during the Aoleang Days.