Nagas Without Borders: New Year Festival underway in Layshi Town

Nagas Without Borders: New Year Festival underway in Layshi Town

Nagas of Myanmar begin the celebration of the New Year Festival underway in Layshi Town, Naga Self Administered Zone, Myanmar, from January 14-16. (Morung Photo)

Achumse Yingpithonger
Layshi | January 14

Naga inhabitants of Myanmar from different regions and some Naga communities from India, living across the international border, gathered here today to celebrate the Myanmar Nagas’ New Year Festival 2019. The festival, being held in Layshi Town which is part of the Naga Self Administered Zone in Myanmar, got underway on January 14 to culminate on January 16.

Marking the beginning of the New Year, thousands of people from different walks of life turned up to be a part of the auspicious event. They witnessed the installing of the victory symbolic pole and a prayer pole to re-affirm their dedication to unity and oneness, which has become the testament of the Myanmar Nagas’ Festival.

January 15 will see a New Year celebration program, games and sports, followed by a ceremonial bonfire in the evening alongside cultural dances. January 16 will see the end of the Festival with cultural displays and a live music show.

Billed as the biggest of the year, the Festival attracts hundreds of international and local tourists every year. This number is, reportedly, rapidly growing as the festival gains more prominence. This Festival holds great significance for the Nagas of Myanmar as it brings them together under one roof every year, enabling them to not only interact and exchange culture but to integrate as one, as a unit sharing the same history.

What is unique about the festival is the blending of various Naga communities and cultures from within Myanmar and the participation of Naga communities living across the border that share the same lineage and culture though divided by an international boundary. The celebration has also become a sort of reunion of families living across the border.

Every year, Myanmar Nagas’ New Year Festival is held in the month of January on a rotational basis in all the Naga inhabited areas, so that all Nagas living in Myanmar get the opportunity to host the Festival and interact with one another.

Diversity of the Nagas, irrespective of the boundary, can be witnessed in its true glory during the Festival. It has come to epitomize the slogan ‘Nagas Without Borders’; that Nagas can be one despite the social, political and economic problems they face.