Sekrenyi is the major festival of the Angami. It is a 10 day celebration which signifies purification and sanctification (before going to war). Also called the Phousnyi festival, the Sekrenyi Festival in Nagaland is celebrated by the Angami Tribe. This is essentially a ritualistic festival that takes place with a series of colorful and varied ceremonies. The Sekrenyi Festival continues for 10 long days.
The festival of Sekrenyi is celebrated in the month of February. Celebrated by the Angamis of Nagaland, this festival falls on the 25th day of the Angami month of Kezei. The festival lasts for ten days and is also called Phousnyi by the Angamis. The Festival follows a series of ritual and ceremony in which the first of ritual is Kizie. As part of this ritual, few drops of rice water are taken from the top of the jug called Zumho and are put into leaves. The lady of the household places them at the three main posts of the house.
All young and old men go to the village well to bathe on the first day of the festival and subsequent cleaning of the well is done by two young men during night hours. After the cleaning is performed, youth guard the well into the night to avoid anyone from fetching water. The womenfolk are strictly not allowed to touch the well water and are only allowed to see that water is fetched for the household before the cleaning of the well.
The next morning (during early hours) all the young men of the village wake up early to take a bath at the well. Young men wear two new shawls, the white Mhoushü and the black Lohe and sprinkle water on their breast, knees and on their right arm. This ceremony is called Dzuseva and is done to wash all the ills and misfortunes. After returning from the well, a chicken is sacrificed with bare hands. The intestines of the fowl are taken out and are hung outside the house in the village. The elders then come and inspect it. From the fourth day onwards, a three-day session of singing and feasting begins. During Thekra Hie, which is considered as the best part of the festival, young people of the village sit together and sing traditional songs throughout the day. Rice beer filled with jugs and meats is served to the participants. The young men go for hunting on the seventh day of the festival. The most important ceremony falls on the eighth day. On this day, bridge-pulling or gate-pulling is performed. Inter-village visits are also exchanged. No one goes or is allowed in the field and all field works stop during this season of feasting and song.
Sekrenyi festival is not only an occasion of ritual sacrifices and feasting of meat and rice-beer but it is also accompanied by folk songs and dances, display of ceremonial dresses and ornaments, indigenous games and sports through which cultural heritage is transmitted to the young generations. Sekrenyi festival preserves the Angami culture and tradition by keeping cultural elements, such as food, clothing, language, value and belief system etc. alive.
Sekrenyi festival highlights the rich cultural values and tradition cherished by their ancestors. Through this festival, the values and beliefs of the people are demonstrated, they give meaning to the social, political and religious life of the people celebrating them. In the olden days the Angamis were known for reverence to his community, sense of justice, equality, integrity, work ethic, honesty, generosity, hospitality and religiosity.