Folk Dance of Nagaland

Nagaland is an exotic altogether form, rich in primeval beauty and most significantly the traditional dance. Music and dance play an enormous part in Naga culture and any event won’t conclude without a folk dance of nagaland. The people of Nagaland believe in togetherness hence you will notice all their dances presented in groups.

Speaking of which, Nagaland has multiple tribes each having its own uniqueness, dance forms, cultures, language and more. as an example, the main folk dances of Nagaland include Modse, Agurshikukula, Butterfly Dance, Aaluyattu, Sadal Kekai, Changai Dance, Kuki Dance, Leshalaptu, Kamba Lim, Mayur Dance, Monyoasho, Rengma, Seecha and Kukui Kucho, Shankai and Moyashai etc., however, the prominent ones are ritual dancing and Zeliang Dance.

The men in Nagaland perform War Dance with an outburst of cry and humming tune. It is often said this dance form mocks war scenarios by involving dangerous war movements. One wrong step could ruin an entire act, it’s martial and athletic style requires a performer to whirl his legs while keeping the body in an upward posture.

Besides the normal attire worn by the performers are simply unique. Aside from War Dance being popular in Nagaland, there’s another artistic dance of the Zeliang Naga tribe, Zeliang dance. Most of the Naga dances are predominantly performed by men but this tribe allows their women to partake in the dance as well.

Nothing too instrumental but only the beating of the drum during a synchronized melody along with leg movement makes men and women merge forming a circle, chanting some chorus. This chanting, clapping, and shouting of words, thumping of feet, gracefully endowed with traditional headgear and garments inspire every member of the group and the spectators as well. 

To add vigor to the dance, the performers garnished in metal ornaments. Chang Lo or Sua Lua may be a traditional dance of the Chang tribe of Nagaland state. Almost like the Zeliang dance, this tribe gracefully performed with men and ladies both geared up with traditional war weapons like Dao, shield, and spear.

Traditional Folk Dances of Nagaland:

1. Changsang

Folk Dances of Nagaland
credit :

Changsang dance may be a traditional folk dance performed by the Chang Naga Tribe of Nagaland during the Naknyulüm festival in the month of July. Changsang dance is performed in praise of the birthplace of mankind and therefore the earth.

Prayers run neck to neck together with the dance during the festival to which the dance is associated to propitiate the sky God. Colorful outfits amid matching songs performed during the period of Puanglem/Nknyulum festival by the Chang Nagas.

2. Chang Lo/ Sua Lua

Dances of Nagaland
credit :

The Chang Lo Dance also referred to as ‘Sua Lua ‘is a traditional folk dance of the Chang Naga tribe of Nagaland. It was performed to celebrate the victory over enemies in the earlier times.

3. Monyu Asho

Folk Dances of Nagaland
credit :

Monyu Asho dance may be a traditional folk dance performed by the Phom Nagas during the festival Phom Monyu festival which is the biggest festival of the Phom Naga tribe. It’s celebrated in the month of April.

The Monyu festival may be a post sowing festival to invoke divine blessings. It marks the top of the winter and the beginning of summer. It’s also a time of prayer and dedication for the seed sown and are already sprouting.

4. Melo Phita

traditional Dances of Nagaland
credit :

Melo Phita dance may be a traditional folk dance performed by the Angami Nagas during the Sekrenyi festival in the month of February. Sekrenyi festival may be a purification festival. it’s observed for ten days from the 25th day of the Angami calendar month of “Kezia” (usually corresponding to 25 February in the Gregorian calendar). 

it’s a “purification festival” held to wash off all past sins. The target of the festival is to renew and “make holy” by cleansing the “body and the soul”, and to cause unity. It also marks the initiation of children to adulthood.

5. Angushu Kighilhe

The Dances of Nagaland
credit :

Angushu Kighilhe dance may be a traditional war dance performed by the menfolk of Sumi tribe.

6. Rukhyo Sharu

Folk Dances of Nagaland
credit :

‘Rukhyo Sharu’ dance may be a form of traditional folk dance performed by the Lotha Naga tribe. The word ‘Rukhyo Sharu’ literally means ‘victory dance’. It had performed during the head-hunting days to celebrate victory over the enemy.

7. Langnyu-Khiamtsangshe

Traditional Folk Dances of Nagaland
credit :

‘Langnyu-Khiamtsangshe’ dance may be a traditional folk dance performed by the Khiamniungan Naga tribe of Nagaland during two of their most important festivals i.e., Miu and Tsokum, which are co-related to every other.

8. Akok-Khi

Folk Dances of Nagaland
credit :

Akok-Khi may be a dance form performed by the Sangtam tribe during the Mongmong festival.

9. Khupielilie

Khupielili Dance Nagaland
credit :

Khupielilie dance may be a traditional folk dance performed by womenfolk of the Pochury Naga Tribe of Nagaland. This dance is an integral part of the Nazu festival of the Pochury tribe in the month of February every year. Khupielilie is a dance where only womenfolk participate.

10. Kukuyipheto

Kuki traditional dance of nagaland
credit :

Kukuyipheto dance may be a traditional folk dance performed by Chakesang Nagas. It’s an excellent choreography as the dance consist of fast and complicated footwork. This dance is performed during a grand feast referred to as ‘Feast of Merit’ and administered by all the able-bodied men in full traditional attire.

11. Kulu-Tsen

Traditional Folk Dances of Nagaland
credit :

The ‘Kulu-Tsen’ is the name of a traditional Naga folk dance of the Yimkhiung tribe. Kulu’ means head, and ‘Tsen’ means dance. it’s a dance associated with head-hunting.

12. Baimajai/Plate Dance

Kachari Naga women
credit :

Baimaijai dance may be a traditional folk dance of the Dimasa. The dance is performed by young girls or women with Plate or Dish and they perform the dance with two plates in both hands. This dance features a distinctly unique feature. 

In the past, during the reign of the Dimasa kingdom, the king had begun victorious in the war and offered victory at the Palace through delight.

Folk Musical Instruments of Nagaland:

1. Bamboo Flute

Bamboo Flute
credit :

It’s one of the simplest instruments made of thin bamboo. Only a special quality of bamboo is employed to make such bamboo flutes. The flute is extremely easy to make, and it produced beautiful sounds.

Another sort of musical instrument which is like this kind of flute is called “malen” in ao dialect. Malen is formed out of paddy plant stump and it is made during harvest time only.

2. Bamboo Mouth Organ

Bamboo Mouth Organ Instruments
credit :

The bamboo harmonica is one of the oldest traditional musical instruments used by the Naga peoples. This is often a very simple instrument that is easy to make and play. The length of this instrument is about six inches and a half in breadth. This instrument is additionally known as the midnight musical instrument.

3. Trumpet

Trumpet - Folk Musical Instruments of Nagaland
credit :

The trumpet is extremely popular among the Naga people; it’s considered the king of musical instruments. Materials like thin bamboo, buffalo horns, Mithun horns etc. are wont to make this instrument.

4. Drum

Boys with drums
credit :

It’s one of the leading instruments of the Naga people. They’re found in different types and sizes to meet the specifics requirement of the ritual occasion.