The Chakhesang celebrate seven festivals in a year as
shown below :
1. SÜKHRÜHNYE – 15 January
2. NGUNE – 15 January
3. TSAKRONYE – 1st Sunday of March
4. TÜKHANYE / TSÜKHENYIE – 6 May
5. KHUTHONYE – 15 July
6. TURHINYE – 25 August
7. THURINYE / KHILUVATÜ – 1 December
SÜHKRÜHNYE : It is the most important festival
and is celebrated on 15the January. During the festival the boys and
girls are sanctified through religious ceremonies and rituals. As a
matter of fact, “SÜKHRÜHNYE” covers eleven days starting from “NYEDE”
and within the five days including “NYEDE” necessary preparations are
made for the rest of six day of festival period.
The first day of the festivity period is known as “CEDU”.
On this very day animals are killed and every house hold sprinkles the
blood of the killed animals on the main posts of the house. The first
fetched out SÜKHÜHNYE wine is offered to the deities in bananas leaf
tumblers and the cooked meat and rice-beer are offered to the
High-Priest and Priests of the village in expectation of blessings.
The second day is “SÜKHRÜ”meant for men folk. SÜKHRÜ
signifies sanctification of young, innocent and unspoiled boys for this
ritualistic ceremony. On this day every man is supposed to take a
fresh-water bath and is forbidden to use water fetched by women. To
perform this ritualistic ceremony (SÜKHRÜ) everything new is used
including utensils and fireplace. The men folk go to the well early in
the morning before any animal or bird touches or partakes the water and
take a bath immediately after the first crow of the cock which indicates
the breaking of a new day, in order to sanctify themselves. Thereafter,
the unpolluted water, considered to be holy, is brought home, fire is
made out of the fire making method and unblemished cock is killed and
cooked with the holy water and eat to sanctify the boy/boys for the rest
of their lives. Even when a new house is constructed “SÜKHRÜH: is
performed in order to get his house sanctified. This whole process is
called “SÜKHRÜH” and “NYE” is known as festival. On this day the entire
men folk go for community bird-trapping. The collected birds are hung on
a decorated ceremonial ritual to sanctify her young innocent
daughter/daughters. THÜNO NUSO is much simpler than that of SÜKHRÜH;
they prepare an unblemished young hen and eat it to sanctify themselves
for their entire lives.
The fourth day is known as “MÜTHI NUSO” where social
feasts such as MÜLELHÜ or feast of social age groups. ZHOTHO MUZA (feast
of merit) etc begins. This day is set aside from religious restrictions.
The fifth day is known as “CEDÜ ZHONU” which means accomplishment of the
festivals. The sixth day and the last day is known as “THÜNYE MÜKRA”.
Now that the festival’s religious pursuits are relaxed, to mark the last
of SÜKHRÜHNYE they continue feasting, dancing and singing throughout the
day and night till dawn.
With the coming of Christianity, SÜKHRÜHNYE’S
religious and traditional ceremonies and rituals are no longer in
practice in most of the villages. However, SÜKHRÜHNYE is still
celebrated with great significance and enthusiasm mostly by the Chokris
in Phek district. During this traditional festival the indigenous games,
folk songs, folk dance and sports fully occupy the festive period of six
days starting from 15 January in keeping with the Christian spirit.
SÜKHRÜHNYE being a festival of sanctification, it is also marked as
Children’s day. Water baptism can take place on this occasion.
SÜKHRÜHNYE is a time of joyful celebration and so people do anticipate
and yearn for the next to come.
TSÜKHENYIE : The TSÜKHENYIE Festival is also an important
festival for the Chakhesang. Earlier it was usually celebrated at the
end of the 3rd lunar month of March. But now it is being observed on 6th
May. A new year of activities begins with the arrival of spring. All
sports and games and other youth activities which began after the
harvest will cease with the closing of the festival. The festival last
for four days. On the first morning, the village priest will offer
sacrifice with the first COCK that crowed that morning, Also, early that
morning, all male folks (any male person who can is a spear) come to a
designated Well (where only male folks are allowed) and purify
themselves by bathing. This purification is important. Any acts not
conforming to the sets rites and ceremonies will be frowned at and will
bring bad luck to the person or the family. In this bathing ceremony,
the rise only new Gourd dipper (for hauling water) especially set aside
for this day, also put on the new dresses. After the bath is performed
they invoke the Almighty for strength, long life, good harvest and
During this festival only the best (Unblemished) of
the male domesticated animals will be slaughtered for consumption. No
female livestock will be slaughtered. New wine will be prepared and
used. The mean and other food prepared will be shared with the best
friends (khwukhe or hachhi). Games and sports, music competition is
organized among the different age groups after which feast is also
organized among those different age groups.
During this festival, the married women go to their
parent’s house and prepare the best food for their husbands. In some
villages, the male youths will declare the most beautiful girl of the
village for the year.
At the end of the festival, all the traditional games
and music articles will be stored away (kehale – mekhi) and not used
till the necessary rites are performed for their use in the next year's
harvest festival. Even the plates which were used for presenting food to
the spirits of the dead will be thrown till the next opening of such
performances after the harvest (kehale-methsü). All leisure activities
will be forbidden after this festival. As the festival ends with the
invocation of a new blessing, all leisure activities will be left behind
and concentrate only on the activities of the fields and other related
activities. With it the sowing of paddy and planting of new seeds
starts. TSÜKHENYIE is a festival which celebrates the culmination of all
leisure activities and a festival for welcoming a new fruitful life and