Origin of Hmar Tribes
Hmar Tribes claim their origin from the Singlung which is located in central or south-west China. Ancestors of Hmar belong to the Chinese dynasty. They are found in Rippaimukh area, Jiribam and Khuga areas and Churachandpur area of Manipur. Hmar tribes mostly reside in the southern area of Manipur, especially in the districts of Churachandpur and its neighbouring regions. This area comprises Tuthaphai, and mighty rivers like Tuiruong (Barak), Tuivai and Tuithapui (Khuga) also flow through this area, thus making the place quite ideal for the tribes to settle down in large numbers.
Clans of Hmar Tribes
The Hmar society is based on clan system. They are Biete, Changsan, Chawrai, Darngawn, Faihrien, Hmarlusei Hrangchal, Hrangkhawlh, Khawbung, Khawlun, Khawlhing, Klielth, Leiri, Lungtace, Ngente, Ngurte, Pakhuong, Sakechek, Sakum, Thiek, Vatigsie and Zote. Each clan had a dialect of its own though now-a-days a common dialect used by the Hmar People was developed by Christian missionaries. The chief of the village council is called "Lal". He is selected from amongst the youngest son except Leiri and Faihrien Clans. Everybody follows his leadership and directive.
Society of Hmar Tribes
The society is patrilineal and patriarchal in nature. Father is the head of the family. Joint family is common among them. The clan is not exogamous in Hmar society. They practice both inter-clean and intra-clan marriage. Ultimo geniture is the law of inheritance in Hmar society.
Among the Hmar, the dormitory for the unmarried boys is called ‘Buomzolor’ or ‘Zawlbuk’ and ‘Numghakleng’ for the dormitory of the girls. Training is provided to all members of dormitories. Tribal war, hunting, wrestling, village self government, obedience, art of singing and dancing, codes and conduct of the society, customary behaviour are the main aspects of training.
House of Hmar Tribes
The villages of Hmar tribe are usually set on top of hills. The house constructed by them has four chambers - Sawangka, Sussphuk, Hall and Namlhlak. Sawangka is meant for entertaining the visitors, Sussphuk is meant for winnowing of the grain, spinning, pounding and husking. Hall serves the purpose of bed room, living room and dining room. Namthlak serves the purpose of waiting room for guests.
Economic Life of Hmar Tribes
The Hmar tribes depend on forest products. Their economy can be classified dually -traditional and subsidiary occupations. Shifting cultivation is the main and traditional occupation and blacksmith, carpentry, poultry, basketry, priesthood, herbal medicine are subsidiary occupation. They are economically backward. Paddy, maize, millet, chilli, potatoes, mash melon, beans, cucumber, watermelon are the main crops of shifting cultivation.
Religious Life of Hmar Tribes
Hmars worship supernatural beings. ‘Pathien’ is the supreme God. They do not worship any celestial bodies like the sun, the moon and stars. They worship the mountains, rocks, big trees, rivers and water springs. There is the concept of life after death. They believe that the soul of brave and noble men go to the heavenly place called Pielral. The souls of pious and holy persons go to the heavenly abode.
Festivals of Hmar Tribes
The traditional festivals of Hmar tribe include Siel-sun, In-ching, Buinei, Khongchoi, Butukhonglom, Lomjii and Chavang Kut. Siel-sun is a sacrificial festival of the wild animals a man had killed in hunting and war.
Dance and Music of Hmar Tribes
Chawn-lam, Dar-lam, Pheipheet-lam, Hrang-lam, Tinna-Hla-lam are the common dances of the Hmar community. All dances are based on the rhythmic tunes of musical instruments. Folksongs are sung along with different dances. These songs are based on the traditional way of life of the people. Drums and gongs are common instruments for Hmar. The other musical instruments are Dark-huong or gong and bell, Khuong or drum and Darbu.