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Naga Traditional New Year Festival
Month: January
Visited: 2899 Time

       Our brethren Naga nationals live mostly in Sagaing Division, the North West corner of Myanmar, close to the Indian border. Naga nationals belong to the Tibeto-Myanmar group. The Nagas settle mostly in the hilly areas but they also live in the areas of Chindwin Riviera. Once, Naga traditional new-year festivals were celebrated community-wise where friends from far and near were invited. Naga elders envisaged that it should be the occasion for amity in broadens scope, they initiated to celebrate New Year festivals township-wise or village tract level at least. Again in 1990, Naga elders decided to celebrate the event region-wise so as to usher in progress and amity. They also agreed to celebrate Naga traditional New Year Festival on every 15th January, and the gathering place to be set in rotation among the Townships, Khamti, Leshi, Namyung and Lahe`.

       The government had been rendering necessary help for the celebration since 1993. Since 1997, government leaders had been gracing the occasion by attending and presenting gifts.
       Naga Traditional New Year Festival had been celebrated at the Grounds in a grand scale. On 14th January, the New Year Festival pole is set up and all Naga people gathered at the opening ceremony. On 15th, hundreds of tourists and about ten thousand people attended the occasion and gifts were exchanged. Then, Naga traditional music and dance were performed and all present were served with Naga traditional food and rice wine. On the eve of the festival, a bonfire was set and all joined the occasion. After good harvest and before the next year's work, a feast is held annually. That moment is very significant for Naga people where they can share their experience in farming and they can discuss their work for the coming new-year. The meaning of their songs and dances at the festival is anticipatory of good health, wealth, happiness, good climate and good crops for the coming new-year. This year, there are 29 dance groups from all the Townships. Their costumes are decorated with hornbill's feathers and plumes, elephant tusks, tigers, bears and boar's canines and paws, buffalos horns, shell, horse and goat's tails, Moreover they wear silver and bronze beads, bangles, bracelets, pendants and eardrops. One more interesting thing is every Naga man wear special palm leaf on each of their feet during the festival. Most of their costumes are red, black, green and white-meaning their courage and dexterity.

       Naga traditional New Year Festival has become an occasion for friendship and amity, which will bring regional development. It also energizes the Naga nationals for their tasks of the New Year. This Naga Traditional New Year Festival is cherished and preserved and it is an unforgettable experience for every visitor. We invite you all to join the auspicious occasions at your convenience. 
       To visit this festival, one has to travel from Yangon to Homemalin by air. Then from Homemalin to Htamanthi by cruise up the Chindwin River. After arriving Htamanthi, travel to Lashe by car again. It takes about 2 days on the way to the festival.

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