Ushering in the joy of spring, several Naga tribes in Manipur celebrated the seed showing festival "Lui-Ngai-Ni" at Kapaam village in Chandel district on Wednesday.
The festival is celebrated simultaneously during the onset of spring to signify the propitious time for the sowing of seeds where the gods are invoked for blessing for yielding bountiful harvest that would ensure the general wellbeing of the people.
During the festival, the blessing of the almighty is beseeched with expression of various cultural dances, songs and rituals performed by troupes from different Naga tribes gathered under the banner of the United Naga Council (UNC).
Hoisting the flag, playing the trumpet, unveiling of monolith, lighting the Lui-Ngai-Ni fire and distribution of seeds to the representatives of the 20 Naga tribes marked the opening ceremony of the festival.
This year, the festival was organised under the theme, "One Culture, One Destiny" to inculcate and promote among the young and old the value system and qualities of Naga traditions and culture that will determine how far the Naga will go in life.
Speaking on the occasion as chief guest, minister Awangbow Newmai expressed regret for the declining of significant Naga culture among the present generation.
Stating that people should alter the misconception of considering culture as only dresses, dances and songs, he pointed out that culture includes the behaviour and habits followed by the ancestors.
Apprising all the Naga elders to teach and encourage the Naga culture among the younger generation, he stressed the need to carry the culture in line with modern lifestyle, to sustain the respect received from others.
The Nagas is a peace loving people which never compromise its principle, he said appealing to all the Naga brethren to stay unified and spread the message peace and love to the surrounding communities.
Delivering the presidential address, UNC president Ng Lorho in his speech pointed out that “advancement of IT and westernization has deeply affected the Naga culture leading to an increased momentum in assimilating and adopting other cultures that resulted in discarding our valuable tradition and culture”.
He stressed the need of checking and maintaining the balance against such dilution on their culture, fundamental principles, social norms and value system.
Talking about the India-Naga Framework Agreement, he informed that the Nagas are looking forward for an honourable and acceptable political solution, to a logical conclusion.
The final settlement is yet to arrive, he said, calling on all the Naga brethren.
"Let us have not be weary and succumb to any kind of piecemeal solution but rather, stand firm and steadfast to our ground, with one voice and one accord so as to bring peace to the Nagas and the Northeast as well."
Lui-Ngai-Ni festival aims to imbibe the fundamental principle of social norms and value system where the culture of family hood is firmly founded on love for one another, where the poorest can be wealthy.
It may be mentioned that 20 odd tribes that constitute the Naga society in Manipur included the Anal, Aimol, Chothe, Chiru, Inpui, Kharam, Khoibu, Lamkang, Liangmai, Mao, Maram, Maring, Moyon, Monsang, Poumai, Rongmei, Tarao, Tangkhul, Thangal and Zeme.
The programme was attended by minister Khashim Vashum as guest of honour, MLA SS Olish as chief host, other MLAs, Naga tribe and CSO leaders among others.