Chaaga Gaddi is the most important and the biggest festival of Zeliang Naga. It is the Festival of Purification for male, and traditionally falls on the last part of the 10th month of the year
Usually Chaaga Gaddi is celebrated for 5 days, each day bearing its significant and activities.
Through out the festival all men keep their body clean by refraining themselves from sexual and other related activities, which they consider defiles their body. Men separates from their wife and even unmarried young men who are having an affair or relationship abstains from meeting their partners and joint the group in the Morung or “Khangsiuki”.
First Day of festival is a day of preparation, and is known as “chaagasiu phubonai”. On this day young men dry and grind paddy, fetch water, collect fire wood and kill animals for the festival (usually pigs and buffaloes).
All preparations have to be completed on the first day itself, and no preparation works is to be done on the other day of the festival.
One important activity of the first day is fire making. Fire are not allowed to bring into Morung from any other sources except through traditional fire making.
Besides, plates or Chaga Kuang made of plantain leaves (Chaaga gum), while cup or Chaga piang are made from bamboo are used during the festivals.
The Festival seems to have a lot of restriction for women. They not only kept away from their men, but are not permitted to even their do daily chore. For instance, all works including fetching water, fire wood collecting, cooking etc which is usually the duty of women are being performed by men.
The Second Day is devoted to preparing wine, and is known as “Zao khaibo nai”.
The Third Day is known as “Maladwangbonai”. It is on this day the finest wine is serve, and all young men brings their cock (Chagarui) for cock fighting known as “Chaagarui machaubo”, where all the villagers young and old gathered to witness the game. The young man whose cock won the fight is being blessed by his parents. He treated with the best foods and finest wine, even the Chaagarui is cooked for him.
The Fourth Day is the most exciting day of the festival. It is on this day that future of young men are believe to foretold through a luck trying event known as “peang ketbo” or “taden mathaibo”. In this event young men attempt to shot or hit at the wooden human figure curve out of single log, which traditionally foretold the future depending on the target he hits upon.
Peang is usually 15 to 16 ft in height, and is divided into four major target portions: Breast region known as “Khangliurangbung” signifies marriage or love affair, so when a young man managed to hit this part of the figure it foretold his marriage or affair in the coming year.
Heart (Tatiucharibung): When young man hit on the heart region of the figure it predicts victory in war. It also signifies that he will killed many games in the coming year.
Belly: This region signifies good harvest or wealth, while the hip or below the hip region (kakunbung) foretold ill health or sickness.
Most young men aim and pray for breast and belly region, which meant they all prefer marriage and wealth rather than victory in war, however, they strongly believe in the future predestined concept and have to be content with whichever way their shot way.
Npeang or wooden human figure is always place on the north.
After participating in the luck trying event or peang ketbo, all young men will gather again in the Morung for various games and sports such as high jump, long jump etc. Winner in these sports are blessed by priest and his trousers are striped as an act of honour.
On the last i.e. the fifth day of festival all young men will tour the village singing folk songs, while older ones will rest and relish on best foods and finest wine they prepared specially for the celebration.
On this day parents invite their sons and daughters and in-laws for feast. This day is considered to be the most important day of the festival and is known as “gaddinai”.
Throughout the 5 days festivity, all villagers maintained strict discipline. So also no one is allowed to go out of the village or journeyed to other places.
Traditionally, Chaaga Gaddi is purely male affair as many restrictions were imposed on women during the festival.
This year too preparation are in full swing in all the Zeliang Naga inhabited areas. The government of Nagaland has declared October 30 and 31 as restricted holiday on account of Chaaga Gaddi.