Moatsu Festival is also recognised as the `Moatsu Mong` and is celebrated by the `Ao
of the north-eastern Indian state
during the first week of the month of May. The festivities continue for a period of three days and are enriched with ancient traditions and rituals
. The festival is arranged following the sowing of crops, cleaning the agricultural fields, clearing the wells or `Tsubu`, burning forests and maintenance of homes by the elder members of `Putu Menden` which is done for a week. People celebrate the Moatsu festival by performing songs and dance
s. The main aim of Moatsu festival is to seek the blessings of Almighty after completing the various activities that include harvesting of old and new `Jhum Kheti`, cleaning of the water
wells, marriages in spring season, repair and construction of houses by the elders of the Village Council.
`Sangpangtu` is a symbolic celebration that is observed during the festival, in which a great bonfire is lit and men and women
sit around it. Ao tribal men and women dress themselves in their best traditional attire and the womenfolk of the community serve the wine and other food items.
The witch doctors of the village
foretell villagers if they are awaiting prosperous or bad days by conducting various readings. Prior to the arrival of Christianity
to Nagaland, a ritual of public fornication used to be one of the major rituals of the festival, to celebrate the onset of fertility in young virgin girls and pubescent boy.
Rituals of Moatsu Festival
Every man is required to wear a new belt, for hanging his `dao`. While married men receive this from their wives, the bachelors are presented the belts by their girl friends. This is an occasion, when restrictions relating to dress and ornaments are relaxed. Prior to the festival, the `Morung
` or the traditional communal house has to be repaired and the dancing drums
are also put to order. On the first day of the festival, the boys of the younger age-groups go to the jungle and collect six bundles of paired bamboo
strips each, which in turn are handed over to the Morung elders.
On the second day, all the male members engage in clearing the village. That night, the cows and pigs are slaughtered for the festival. On the third day the meat is distributed among the boys of the Morung. Some portion is kept in order to be given as presents. The boys eat the meat outside the Morung, the elders come into the Morung and are entertained with oriental alcoholic beverage