The Metemniu Festival of the Yimchungers of Nagaland is a five -day festival, celebrated after the harvest of millet. This 5-day festival celebrated with extremely fervor and enthusiasm by the people where they also worship their local deities.
According to the Yimchunger tradition, the tribe emerged at a village called Moru and then came to Jure village. The Yimchungers and the Khiamungans are believed to have migrated to the present-day Nagaland from Upper Burma as one group, in one wave. They separated into two groups at the Moru village.
Metumniu festival celebrates the particular crop harvest of millet. Millet is included among the staple diet of the Yimchungaers. The culture of the tribes hailing from Nagaland follows a closely common pattern. All tribes posses a deep respect for agriculture and the harvest produced and hence express their keen gratitude towards God who has aided them in their long and hardworking journey.
It is on the occasion of this festival that the deceased loving souls that have passed away the year before return to their homes. The people pray for the deceased souls and also for a good harvest. The holidays of this festival are spent with pomp and cheerful attitude. People drink, dance and rejoice together as a community. The festival is also lined with a meaningful revival of what is lost or broken by ragging rains and storms. And hence people make sure to clean and repair roads, homes and their surroundings and bring back a sense of restoration.
Throughout the duration of the festival more than 30 cultural troupes, dressed in their traditional garb, perform traditional dances and sing folk songs that showcase their cultural heritage. The festival is presided by head of the district or city commonly known as Kheanpuru in Nagaland and many people attend to enjoy the festivities. The estimated number of people that attend the celebration of the Metumniu festival is nearly over 5,000.The first day of Metumniu is known as Shito and on this day people gather in groups and partake in the cleaning of their homes and environment. They start with the cleaning of streets and roads.On the second day, known as Zhihto, peoples are engaged in repairing their homes and broken roads.
On the third day the restoration of roads of the villages and inter villages is brought under attention.The fourth day is known as Zhumto by the Yimchunger people. On the fifth day which is known as Kheresuk people clean ponds, lakes, rivers and other water bodies.The last and the fifth day is known as Sheresuk, people finally take a break from all the hard work and invest their day’s time in merrymaking and feasting.During the entire course of the festival many prayers are offered. Religious rituals are executed as well.
Traditionally, the festival is celebrated after the harvest of millet crop. The millet crop is of great significance and importance to the Yimchunger people and is mainly included in their everyday diet.
Metumniu festival is celebrated each year by the Yemchunger tribe. It is celebrated in the Month of August after the harvest of millet crop. The presence of the Metumniu festival lasts for five days. The festivities start at 4th of August and end by 8th of August.