The entire community is imbued into the tempo of the festival celebration. The people of Angami tribe fete this festival to possess good fortune and to acquire blessings in the lives of the people. In the bygone era, the festival continued for 10 long days. Nowadays, it has been curtailed and is celebrated for 6 days only.
Etymology of Sekrenyi
The word Sekrenyi is an amalgamation of the two words ‘sekre’ meaning sanctification and ‘thenyi’ means festival.
Celebration of Sekrenyi
The mode of celebrating this festival is unique. For sanctifying the males, water is brought from nearby well or spring, a fireplace is prepared by chafing splints or bamboo blades. A cock or hen is then sacrificed.
A number of rituals and ceremonies are involved with the festival. On the first day, which is known as ‘Kezie’, people sprinkle themselves with a few drops of rice water drawn from a pot named ‘Zumho’. The drops of water are first gathered into leaves, and the chief lady of the house reverently fixes the leaves at the three main corner pillars of the house. This is followed by the men assembling at the well to bathe.
On the second day, young men of the village assemble to perform ritualistic purifications. The men adorn themselves with two new shawls, and then ritualistically sprinkle the holy water on their chests, knees and right arms as a mark of washing away all their sins and ill luck. When they come back from the well, a sacrificial offer of a cock is performed.
The fourth day of the festival marks the New Year of the Angamis. It begins with revelry by singing and feasting which lasts for three days. The men and women of the community wear traditional dress. While men carry head hunting spades, women carry baskets.
Men play a crucial role in cooking in this temporary fireplace, utilizing separate utensils. Later, they also take part in another special ceremony of slaying demons and misfortunes. This symbolic slaying is done by target shooting with the use of sticks as wooden spears. All the participants receive Thisisaja, the solemn blessing bestowed upon by an elderly person so that they achieve victory in the struggle against evil. Thus ends the first day, also called Sekre day. Like Terhunyi ritual, men carry the Sekre meat and rice brew to their maternal uncles and receive the same from them in return.
Rest of the three days are spent in gathering objects for decoration from the forest areas and also making jewelleries like necklaces etc. On the 5th day, the aged folks involve themselves in threading beads. Youths deck up in these ornaments in the evening, and spend the time in merry making. This mood of fun and frolic continues till the end of the festival.