The Gangtes of Manipur is a part of Kuki tribal communities. Gangte has a literal meaning. The word is named after the place carrying the name Ganggam. In fact, the word Gangte means 'person from Ganggam'. But no body knows about the correct location of the place. The story of the origination of these Gangte tribes is interesting, as they believe that their ancestors came down from caves. For better controlling, the whole of the Gangte tribal society can be divided in to exogenous units, known as phengs, namely, Thanglun, Teklah. Teklah is subdivided in to two Behs, Thangjom, again, is divided into nine Behs.
Primitive practices and rituals are some of the identifiable traits of Gangte society. It also enriches the culture of the Gangte family. This customary sacrifice, namely Vawkpithah, is compulsory and is used to be held at least once in every three years. Khawchuk recital is performed where the priest, in the name of head of the Gangte family, go on reciting the long list of names of the ancestors chronologically.
Marriages of Gangte tribes too are being held following certain customs and rituals. Marriage with mothers' brother's daughter and father's sister's daughter is allowed. The people, in the past, wear cotton produced from tension looms. But at present, they commonly use wools. Amongst the conventional cloths of Gangte, 'Puondum' is a shawl wore by male folks of all ranks. 'Thangsuohpuon', 'a personifying shawl', is a wrapper used by those who have achieved higher status. Chawng rite performers too can be used them. 'Puonlaisan', a special cloth, is worn by males and females of this tribal community.
Besides feting all the national festivals, the Gangte tribes have got a treasure house of their indigenous festivals. Killing of animals like mithun, goats etc and also singing and dancing are an integral part of the Gangte festivals. Chapchal Kut is held in the month of March to April for seven consecutive days when 'filling of Jhum' is finished. Gahmasa Kut festival is held after 'Chapchal Kut'. For celebrating the first harvest from the field, it is observed for only one day.
In the beginning of October, Mim Kut festival is held by youngsters making merriment, blowing bamboo trumpets. Killing of mithun for the feast is also observed. Dances and musical forms of Gangte tribes are rich making them popular amongst other tribes of the region. Chavang Kut is observed in the month of October and November lasting for seven days.
Gangte tribe follows several rituals. Usually held in October, Thatlak involves killing of a rooster without breaking any bone, is offered to the deity, popularly known as Phisang. On the following day, 'shaman' is been observed. Few eminent personalities of Gangte tribes have risen to prominence in the whole of Indian panorama.
(Last Updated on : 08-04-2011)
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