A FESTIVAL IN NAGALAND CELEBRATED BY THE SUMI’S IN JULY
SIGNIFICANCE AND HISTORY:
Tuluni is an important festival of the ‘Sumi’ tribes in Nagaland who are the inhabitants of Zunheboto district. This festival is celebrated in the month of July generally on the eight day of every year.
The word Tuluni comes from a special type of drink known as rice-beer which was given in a glass made up of bamboo or three leaves of plantain. Tuluni is also known as ‘Anni’ that stands for the season of bountiful yields. Prayers are being offered to the God of productivity known as ‘Litsaba’ who is said to be responsible for the safeguard of crops.
In the past Tuluni was celebrated in the two regions namely ‘Ghabo’ and ‘Ajo’ in different periods of time. The Ghabo was a hot region and the people residing there known as ‘Ghabomi’ used to celebrate this festival before the people of Ajo called as ‘Ajomi’. Generally it was to be celebrated four months after the implanting of seeds. In the year 1972 the people of Sumi decided to celebrate it on the same day or the eighth of July every year.
Though it is a one-day festival nowadays, the ancestors used to celebrate it for seven days which were observed with great commitments and were equally significant. The seven days were:
Asuzani: The first day of the festival in which the rice millet was prepared by fermentation.
Aghizani: The actual making of the Rice-beer was done in the second day of this festival.
Ashigheni: This is the third day of the festival in which animals such as Cows, Pigs, Geminis, etc are slaughtered for the feast.
Anighini: This was the fourth and main day of the festival when a luxurious feast was organized and shared by the people irrespective of their social standards.
Mucholani: The senior people draw together and especially the relatives were to be invited for a feast. Sending of Rice-beer and meat to the relatives held as presents were also observed on the fifth day.
Tupulani: This was the sixth day of the festival dedicated to the youth. They get beautifully dressed and enjoy themselves by eating food and performing several conventional sports.
Tughakhani: The last day was observed by not permitting anybody to go out of the village and the gates were shuttered as a preventive measure for the bad sprits to enter.
It is the festival to rejoice the completion of the harvesting task. Offering of prayers to the respective deities and other spirits who are believed to provide help in the field works during the year are done. The people engage themselves in merry-making and eating rich food. No work is done and people take rest to get rejuvenated for the hard work lying ahead.
Drinking of Rice-beer is the most significant phase of this festival as it gives the very name of Tuluni to this festival.
The Fiancees invite their respective Fiances to a grand feast in their houses and exchange of gifts among themselves takes place.
The folk songs and dances known as ballads are performed.
A grand feast is organized that mainly consists of non-vegetarian items and the most important part of the feast is the drinking of Rice-beer.