Poumai Naga Paonii Festival
Paonii is a festival of paddy transplantation. It can be also called as the paddy transplantation festival. It is celebrated every year commencing from first week of May to first week of June according to the different location of the Poumai villages. Each village has different Paonii and it is not celebrated together the entire Poumai community. Different villages start paddy transplantation in different time and each village has different time of Paonii. Paonii is very popular festival in Lepaona circle villages but it is also celebrated in Paomata and Chiliive villages. The chief of the village first transplants the paddy from the nursery then the villagers follow. Paonii is one of the best festivals to enjoy fully by the youngsters. It is celebrated for three days. On the First day is called Ranaizhou. The villagers prepare for the feast on this day. Some of the villagers also pluck out the rice seedling plants from the nurseries for rice transplantation on this festival. On the Second day is called Thaopaizhou, (means rice seedling plants plucking out day from the nurseries), where the people take out the rice plants from the nurseries to be transplanted the next day. In the morning abundant of animals are butchered for the guests to be arrived on this day. Depending on the number of the households in the village, the animals are killed but on an average one household is ready with 10-12 Kilograms of meats for this festival, which can treat more than 30 guests by one family.
On this day, many friends and guests come from different villages to assist in rice transplantation. Many young men also come from different villages for traditional wrestling. It is a day of guest or wrestlers arrival and wrestling competition is held in the evening after the dinner. Usually the wrestling competition is held between the host villagers and the wrestlers who come from other villages. Some time, wrestling competition continue till dawn depending on the number of the wrestlers.
Paonii is a festival where you need no to know anybody in the village. Guests can go to any house and have food and drink without any hesitation. Guests can just call or knock the door and the host will always warmly welcome every one who comes in whether the host of the village knows them personally or not. It is a festival to give out freely and treat well the guests who comes
Pix 4.6: Indigeneous Wrestling
from different villages. There is no any problem to have food anywhere in the host village. The introvert guests who do not know anybody in the host village also will no go hungry since the host villagers will definitely invite them to have food if they have no food or drink.
The Third day is Khanaizhou, which is the main day of the festival. On this day all the people are suppose to go to the paddy field for rice transplantation. Many Paonii revelries go to field to assist in rice transplantation. However it is not necessary to help the owner of the field to finish in rice transplantation on that day itself. The revelries can go to another field after a small bunch of rice plants is transplanted for the owner and have food or drink and go to another field to help the other owners. Many pretty girls and handsome guys also usually come from different villages to help their relatives in the host village in rice transplantation. The Paonii revelries go on chatting and exchanging message of love songs; romantic conversations and crack lots of jokes while rice transplantation is going on. The Paonii revelries go in groups from one field to another field to see the pretty girls andhandsome boys. The revelries also help in rice transplantation as they go on from one field to another field. The day is very interesting and full of fun, as the host villagers are dressed with multi-colors of their traditional attires. The village’s Loudspeaker also plays on this day near the field and present different love songs to the revelries and those who are busy in rice transplantation. In the evening, some
Pix 4.7: Revelries helping in transplantation
of the guests/revelries return to their native villages, while the guests who stay back in the village continue to enjoy the night in drinking and eating. Paonii is celebrated in different villages and many Paonii revelries come from different villages and enjoy with abundant of meats and drinks. Any uninvited guests also can come to the host village and have food and drinks as the host villagers are always ready with lots of drinks and food to avoid any embarrassment if found no food or drink in their homes.
Besides the above four important festivals, there are many festivals, which is not celebrated in all the Poumai villages. Some of the important festival in Lepaona circle is uncommon in other circles and other important festivals celebrate in Chiliive and Paomata circle is uncommon in Lepaona circle and vice versa. All the Poumai festivals are based on Poumai traditional religion.
Today about 98.5 percent of the total populations is Christians. However the people continue to celebrate all kinds of traditional festivals every year. The traditional festivals are celebrated in many villages but the Christians do not involve in traditional religious rites and rituals. Today many young boys and girls go out for their education and only those people are in the village celebrated the traditional festivals.