Family System of Hajong Tribes
Hajong Tribes are divided into five clans, Doskina, Meshparia, Sosongia, Barohazari and Korebari. They are exogamous by nature. The Hajongs follow a matrilineal family structure but the line of descent is traced through the father. The father is regarded as the head of the family and all the decisions of the family are taken by him. The Hajongs do not support marriages between the members of the same clan. Marriage is also not allowed outside the community.
Traditional Houses of Hajong Tribes
The Hajong villages are located on elevated grounds close to wet paddy lands. They build their houses in clusters in the courtyard of the village headman called 'Adhikari'. The house of the Adhikari is the only important house in the village. The traditional houses comprise separate buildings with the walls made of split bamboo and plastered with cow dung. The floors are made of mud. The important sections of a Hajong house are Deo ghor, a room for daily prayer, Akhli ghor i.e. a kitchen, Bhat ghor, a dining hall as well as a bedroom, Khopra ghor, a bedroom made for married daughter or son, Chang ghor, a granary, Kasri ghor, a dormitory made for guests, Guli ghor, a cattle shed, Dheki ghor, a husking house.
Economy of Hajong Tribes
Agriculture is the primary occupation of the Hajong Tribes. The womenfolk are skilled weavers. Every house here has a loom and the dresses required by the female members of the family are mostly hand made. It is custom of the Hajong to weave the clothes required during weddings at the family loom. Hajongs are also good carpenters and are experts in manufacturing of bamboo and cane goods. The cane and bamboo products are usually manufactured for household requirements. The surplus is sold in the weekly markets.
Food of Hajong Tribes
Riceis the staple food of the Hajong Tribes. It is usually eaten with lentils and vegetables. Fish is also an important food item. Pork and fowls are generally not preferred but the meat of tortoise is a delicacy for them. The rice beer that they brew at home is consumed occasionally. The Hajongs also have bamboo fishing implements. At certain occasions they grind the rice and make deep fried cakes known as pitha. Some of the traditional Hajong dishes are Lebahak, prepared from ground rice, Chungahak, a curry prepared in bamboo and its mouth kept air tied, Bukni Bhat, fermented rice, Dingpora, a form of sweet rice prepared in a unique type of bamboo, Kharpani, prepared by boiling vegetables with dryfish and soda, Topla Bhat, rice covered with banana leaves, Putamas, a small fish prepared by wrapping it with banana leaves.
Religion of Hajong Tribes
Like most of the tribal communities of the North East India, the Hajong Tribes believed in animistic religion. In recent times they have adopted Hinduism. However, they still practise some of their traditional religious rituals. The Hajongs believe in some evil spirits like Machang Deo, Jarang Deo, Bhut, Maila, Zukhini, Daini etc. They adore and worship different gods and goddess like Kali, Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kamakhya, Manasa, Basanti and others. Kartik puja among the Hajongs are known as Katka puja and Manasa puja is known as Kanideu puja. The day of Lakshmi puja is referred to as 'Kojai Ghar'.
Festivals of Hajong Tribes
The Hajong Tribes celebrate few Hindu festivals like Durga Puja and Kamakhya Puja. They also celebrate few festivals of their own culture. A traditional festival is celebrated in honour of the Bastu, Paabni and other group of deities. It is conducted by a Deoshi or Nongtang, a village priest. Bastu puja does not involve idol worship and is celebrated in a particular location outside the village premises. During the festival tortoises and pigeons are sacrificed. Another important festival celebrated is known as chorkhela in Garo Hills and chormaga in Mymensingh. During the festival groups of young boys and girl visit all the houses in the village and play music and act out stories. These are sometimes based on Ramayana. They sometimes obtain money and rice for their performance. The Hajongs also celebrate their pre monsoon harvest festival known as Bishuwa.
Dress of Hajong Tribes
The Hajong Tribes usually wear traditional dresses with their own unique style. The womenfolk chiefly wear 'patin' used for covering the lower part of the body from the waist to the ankle. It is a bright striped red dress used by them as a mekhala. Patin is woven by women at their family looms known as 'Bana.' It is operated with hands and does not require the usage of feet. The upper part of the body of the women is covered by a home woven cotton scarf known as pasra or Agrun. The men cover their bodies with a home made piece of cloth known as Ningti. It is bigger than Gamosa i.e. a hand towel.
Language of Hajong Tribes
The Hajong Tribes have their own dialect. It is an Indo-Aryan language with Tibeto-Burman roots. More than 175,000 ethnic Hajongs residing in Meghalaya, Assam, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh speak in this language. They write it in Latin and Assamese script. Originally Hajong was a Tibeto-Burman language but later Bengali language and Assamese language were added to it. The Assamese script is mostly used for writing Hajong.
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