5 1 2017

Continuity and change in Hao Naga Festivals

Somingam Mawon

Abstract


Festivals can be approached as sites for examining the relationship between indigeneity and assimilationist modernity, and this chapter explores the ways in which Hao (Tangkhul) Naga festivals index cultural continuity and change in Manipur. Since the new millennium, festivals have become a focal point for state-sponsored tourism, as well as for resurgent, and increasingly self-conscious, indigenous identity performance (Longkumer 2013). Globalising indigeneity, spurred by the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as the growing economic influence of nostalgic indigenous diaspora, have also contributed to shaping and re-shaping local festivals. This chapter looks specifically at the Hao Luira- seed-sewing festival - the largest and most important annual festival for 200,000 Hao Nagas living in Manipur and across the border in Myanmar, and identifies some of the subtle and not-so-subtle ways local communities creatively accept and refuse change.


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