Every year in January. NAGA
New Year is celebrated. This year, the Festival will be celebrated in Layshi,
Sagaing Division, Union of Myanmar.
It is the tradition of the NAGA people to share joy and happiness with
friends and guests on this auspicious New Year and Thanksgiving celebrations
to mother nature for granting bountiful harvest for all year round.
Myanmar is a land of diverse topography and national races. High up on the
mountains of North West Myanmar are the proud national group, known to the
world as NAGA, one of the over 100 different national residents of the Union
The NAGA Hills, as commonly referred to, have steep slopes and deep ravines.
Cold wind blows during the winter months. Summer months are not hot but
cool. Streams leap over huge boulders or hiss quietly along. The climate may
be harsh for the NAGA people and those of the brethren Myanmar nationals,
but the NAGA New Year Festival in the NAGA Hills will give each and every
visitor to Myanmar an experience which is closer to nature, and an
experience to cherish.
This year's NAGA Festival will be celebrated during the 2nd week of January
2006. The exact dates will be announced soon.
Of the more than 100 national
races of Myanmar, the NAGA is a small but colourful national group. These
honest and hardy people inhabit the mountain regions in the north – western
Myanmar. Khamti, Lahe, Layshi and Htamanthi
are the principal towns of the NAGA
The NAGA earn their livelihood largely through agriculture and livestock
breeding. There is cultivation of paddy,
corn, soybean and other pulses, as well as vegetables like garlic, onion,
cauliflower and fruits (orange, damson and bananas).
They also grow tea and coffee on the hill slopes.
The NAGA breed pigs, goat, chickens and cattle. Of the cattle bred, there is
one special species known as
"Nwa Nauk" which is larger and beefier than the Myanmar cow of the plains.
It is a cross between a cow and a buffalo. There are also a few cottage
industries like spinning and weaving, pottery and black smithy.
NAGA from the outlying villages come to take part in the festivities dressed
in their colourful best. The warrior – like youths carried their shields and
spears; wore headdresses framed with the curved horns of the wild boar and
adorned with fur and feathers.
At the New Year celebrations, endless cups of rice wine are drunk; bison and
wild boar meat are roasted, tribal dances
are performed to the loud beating of drums. Visitors are welcome to enjoy
the event and to see people living in their traditional ways as part of the
natural way of living. If visitors wish to join in their celebrations, they
are most warmly welcomed, because it is good to share the happiness with the
brethren NAGA nationals live mostly in Sagaing Division, the north west
corner of Myanmar, close to the Indian border. The NAGA nationals belong to
the Tibeto – Myanmar group. The NAGA settle mostly in the hilly areas and
also in the areas of Chindwin River. At one time, NAGA traditional New Year
Festivals were celebrated community-wise where friends from far and near
were invited. NAGA elders envisaged that it should be the occasion for amity
in broader scope. They then initiated to celebrate New Year Festivals
township-wise or at village tract level. Again in 1990, NAGA elders decided
to celebrate the event region-wise so as to usher in progress and amity.
They also agreed to celebrate NAGA traditional New Year Festival on every
15th January, and the gathering place to be set in rotation among the
Townships: Khamti, Layshi, Namyung and Lahe'.