The Manau Festival

The Manau Festival:
The Kachins believe that Manau was first celebrated by birds, fish and butterflies. This festival was first introduced to the people by Jawa Rumja (Tingli Yaw) who married a woman descendant of the Madai Spirit (ShThe Manau Festivaly Spirit). Jawa Rumja inherited this festival from his father-in-law and celebrated the Manau at “Hkrang Hku Major” for the first time. His grandson Sut Madau again celebrated Manau at “Nau ra yang ga” for the second time. A 100 years after the second Manau, Kumja Magam celebrated the festival at “Ningrang Ga” for the third time, followed by Matsaw “N Hkum Wa” at the same place. Following this tradition Kachins have been celebrating this festival right up to the present time.
The Manau feast is nothing but a worshipping ceremony of the ancient Madai Spirit. When the Madai Spirit conveyed this worshipping tradition to the people, he also mandated many promises to be kept. The worshipping ceremony to the people is accompanied by the Manau dance, whenever it is performed.

The public dance along with drums and gongs is a sign of happiness and celebration. Fasting for a day after the festivals is a must. The Madai Spirit is invited as the main participant of all spirits and when the festival is over all of them must be sent back to their original places. It is celebrated strictly either for four days or eight days. The Manau must be celebrated only by those who have the right to worship the Madai Spirit.

To celebrate prosperity
Sut Manau; at funerals – Ju Manau; to forge allies or friendship to wage war, it is called “ Ningtau Manau “ ; in times of victory – the Padang Manau “. At times of separation or parting of companies, it is the “ Kumran Manau “. The “ Dingshawn Manau “ is danced at house warming ceremories, the “ Htingrau Manau “ , to celebrate unity among tribes, and the “ Nau Sawt Manau “ is a casual Manau. The steps of the Manau dance is the same for all occasions, with the dancers in a long line forming several curves around decorated ceremonial poles or totems. These lines and curves relate the Manau history.

Source: Biodiversity, Culture, Indigenous Knowledge Nature & Wildlife Conservation Programs in Kachin State by Lasi Bawk Naw, President of the YMCA Myitkyina.


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