The much awaited and revered Jessami Tekru-Nge celebration began on Monday with young and old alike participating in the event with full traditional attire, invoking Almighty God’s name to sanctify and cleanse their body, mind and soul and start the brand New Year afresh.
Tekru-Nge is one of the most important festivals for the people of Jessami.
Tekhru -Nge (literal meaning, self sanctification/purification) is an annual celebration. It is similar to the Luira Phanit festival of the Tangkhul community (seed sowing festival).
Sense of brotherhood, unity, social service, love and care for the elderly people prominently figures in the lives of the people. The people take culture and identity as their strength and is deeply rooted in the minds of the young and old alike.
On the inaugural day, menfolk in full traditional attire took out a procession starting from Jessami’s old fort and converged at the Mission Compound. Throughout the procession, both young and old alike recited the traditional chantings.
In the olden times, the forefathers religiously celebrated Tekru-Nge for 10 days, each day having their own significance. While the first day is spent preparing for the festivities, the 2nd day holds a significance for menfolk in the village. The day began by waking up before sunrise and traversing the fresh spring water which is yet to be touched by animals and birds.
There, they wash their bodies with the fresh spring water and carry it for those who can’t come to the spot. The washing signifies the cleansing of not just their body but mind and spirit to start afresh the year with renewed vigor and strength for a just, peaceful and prosperous life.
Back home, a spotless unblemished cock is killed and cooked in a brand new hearth and consumed.
The unsullied cock is prepared in a separate hearth which, as per their belief, should not be entered by any one while preparing. Then the cooked meat is consumed by the menfolk in a fresh banana leaves.
Similarly, on the 3day womenfolk do the same thing as practiced by the menfolk. The only difference is that it kills unsullied hen.
The significance of killing spotless cock and hen symbolises purification of sins and misfortune through blood rituals for prosperity and a new dawn.
The other significance of Tekru-Nge is that both men and women who were forbidden or restricted from consuming certain meats (because of illness or for other health-related issues) are liberated from the restriction post the observance of the festival.
This was stated by Nizote Mehrisuh, chairman, Jessami Village Council (JVC).
The three-day long Tekru-Nge celebration was held under the theme “Roots”.
Speaking at the occasion, Lhiweshelo Mekrisuh, former Speaker, Assembly Affairs, Jessami village who graced the occasion as chief guest stressed that every young boys who had reached the age of eight or nine years must compulsorily baptise or take bath with fresh water from the stream or well. This ritual must be religiously followed before undertaking the new year’s activities in order that any future misfortune is prevented and make the year a fruitful one.
Meanwhile, as the evening of the festive 2nd day approaches a community feast is prepared where the elders among the community chanted a rhythmic chorus paying homage to the forefathers practice of invoking the Almighty before food. This is equivalent to Christians prayers for food prior to part take. This chanting is repeated three times from lower to highest. After the completion of the rituals, a community feast began.
While the chanting can be done during a big community feast like today, it was specifically meant for harvest season, shared Nirulo Wezah incumbent Speaker, Assembly Affairs, Jessami.
He continued that a man is known for his culture and a man without culture has no identity. Therefore, the rich and vibrant culture being passed down by the forefathers must be preserved in sync with the changes, he added.
As part of the occasion, localities competed in cultural dance (both male and female), folk song, tug of war and echo keche, among others.
Jessami is surrounded by hill ranges on all sides. This picturesque village also offers scores of sightseeing spots for the villagers to explore and quench their adventuristic passion. Good hospitality to the guests is another big takeaway of the village. The village has huge potential for eco-tourism.
The village is famous for Nongin (Hume’s Pheasant), the state bird. In its bid to protect and preserve the bird species, a conservation area for its habitat has also been demarcated. The inauguration for the same will be held on Tuesday.
A land endowed with rich forest cover, the village is famous for its stinking/parkia beans (Yongchak) , orange, lemon, grapes, mango, pearl and banana, etc.