OLAC Record

Title:Joenwi – Wihu Kuh rituals
Contributor (compiler):Stephen Morey
Contributor (consultant):Joenwi
Date Created:2008-01-05
Description:One recording in which Mrs Joenwi talks about the Wihu Kuh rituals. This consists of the following video file: The details of this recording are as follows: The second of two recordings of the rituals practices on the morning of Wihu Kuh (January 5th) in 2008. This recording forms part of the cassette numbered SMVDP05JAN0801 (Phonogrammarchiv No 1185), and runs from 0'00" to 24'15" 0'00" Prayer song (wihu qhyoe) performed at the main post of the house. This is sung while tying the sacrificed chicken to the rice basket; and aso involves rice wine. 2’36” Continuation of the prayer ceremony; 4’33” lighting a fire; 10’20” tying the koh nyon to the front steps; 12’06” tying the koh nyon to main post; 13’40” Chonja takes over and ties the koh nyon to the granary; 16’20” tying the koh nyon to the chicken house; 17’40” tying the koh nyon to the goat house; 19’00" tying the koh nyon to the cattle house; 20’49” tying the koh nyon to her own house; 21’50” Chonja and her mother standing with the sun’s rays behind The following is a description of the whole Wihu festival from which this portion is taken. This description was originally written by Palash Kumar Nath: Wihu Kuh is celebrated in the Tangsa community of Kharang Kong, and perhaps in some other places, on 5th of January every year . It is a festival to honour the female earth spirit, who is called Wihu (also spelled Weeho). After dark on the 4th January, girls or unmarried women from every family go to a particular place in the village where they dig up a hole in the ground. In Kharang Kong that place was at the edge of the village. They put a large leaf in this hole, traditionally a leaf called kau but nowadays as this is hard to find, they use banana leaf instead. The hole was filled with soil and then covered with another banana leaf. Each of the holes was marked by stick (ngochai in Cholim) tied with red flowers called qhoqho pyo (also called sungsan in song In the evening the girls prepare a bamboo basket called dingru khya, decorating it with qhoqho pyo flowers on all side. Wihu songs and other traditional songs are sung while this is being done. The singer calls on the spirits to come to their house and bless them with luck. A bamboo tube is placed in the basket, called rim chyoe. The next morning, people get up at around 4.30am. The girls who went out the previous night walk to the place marked by the ngochai and dig out soil which was buried on the large leaf the previous night and bring it back to the house. The dingru khya basket is placed on main post of the house, against which a second bamboo pole is placed. The main post is called menryo chhung in Cholim. The soil is placed on a small hearth and fire is kindled there, in preparation for the sacrifice of a domestic animal: a chicken, a pig or a buffalo. Some leaves are also present. A prayer is chanted by the person who actually sacrifices the animal, usually the head of the family. This may be a grandfather, or if he is deceased, his widow . In that prayer the chicken is asked to forgive them for killing it. The prayer praises the chicken, saying that it has wings si it can fly, it has long legs so it can run fast, and it has eyes which can foresee anything in future and is more intelligent than human beings. Thus the head of the house requests the chicken to go to Wihu and beg for wealth and luck and the bringing of good luck ti the house. When the prayer is over, the chicken is sacrificed by strangulating with one hand until the last movement of the legs of the dying chicken comes to an end. The final resting posture of the legs of the dead chicken bears some significance to the family. If finally the legs rest cross-fingered, it is considered to be a good sign for the family. A hole is made into the head of the chicken and the blood coming out of it is dropped on the leaves and other objects which are placed there. Then the dead chicken is hung on the already hanging dingru khya basket. The Wihu song sung by Joenwi was sung at this point in the ritual in January 2008. That basket is left like that for next two days. The leaves, with a drop of chicken blood and fresh qhoqho pyo flowers (the whole of which is termed koh nyon) are tied to the main steps of the house, kitchen post, granary and so on. After that, people visit each other. Everybody is offered some rice beer, fish, pork or chicken and along with both sweet and bitter tea (phelap soem and phelap khip). When the visitors come to a house they call out ahe while climbing up the wooden or the bamboo ladder. This signifies that the visitors have wished that wealth and luck should come to the house. In some cases the visitors are greeted with dancing and singing from the hosts, inviting the visitors to come inside and accept whatever they offer. In return the visitors also reply back by singing that they have come to know that the house owner has arranged something for them and has invited them for a feast. Another feature of the festival was a performance of several traditional dances, including one dance that was a ‘modernised’ version of the Wihu Song, performed by the young women (all unmarried and all having reach puberty), This was rehearsed many times in the days leading up to Wihu Kuh and was performed in the more public versions of the festival in following years. Traditionally this festival was observed for three days.
Identifier (URI):https://hdl.handle.net/1839/0285f409-df7d-4d68-b559-fd54756037c3
Is Part Of:DoBeS archive : Tangsa, Tai, Singpho in North East India
Language:Tase Naga; Tangsa - Cholim variety (general name Tonglum)
Language (ISO639):nst
Publisher:The Language Archive, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
Subject:Tase Naga language
Tangsa - Cholim variety (general name Tonglum)
Subject (ISO639):nst
Type (DCMI):MovingImage


Archive:  The Language Archive
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OaiIdentifier:  oai:www.mpi.nl:tla_1839_0285f409_df7d_4d68_b559_fd54756037c3
DateStamp:  2022-09-12
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Citation: Joenwi (consultant); Stephen Morey (compiler). 2008-01-05. DoBeS archive : Tangsa, Tai, Singpho in North East India.
Terms: area_Asia country_MM dcmi_MovingImage iso639_nst

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Country: Myanmar
Area: Asia

Up-to-date as of: Tue Sep 13 8:36:00 EDT 2022