Ethnic From Myanmar Celebrates Annual Traditional Festival Losak Khotue
Matu people from the mainland Chin state celebrated their annual traditional festival – Losak Khotue —in the month of July around the world. Losak Khotue is one of the two main festivals of the Matu people, the other one is Cangyom New Year which is usually held in November.
Approximately a thousand people participated in the festival in the US alone. The program includes Sports, a Talent show, a Miss Matu competition, and so on. Similarly, the festival is widely celebrated in Europe, Asia, and of course is celebrated inside Myanmar.
The word “Losak” came from the village of Batupui, also known as Matupi, a central town of the Chin state. Losak is a kind of traditional burning ceremonial system before rice farming started in Chin hill, said Rev. Dr. Val Thang, the first Chin refugees’ advocator and student leader during U Thant’s uprising.
According to the tradition, it is possible for eating vegetables that are naturally available from the forest (outside of farmland), such as (in local names), Burhaeng an, Anhlaeng an, Anthui an, etc., but planted vegetables from the farmland, such as (in local names), Vaikuem (maize), maipu an, rhuek thaih (chilli),etc., cannot be eaten before an offering has been made to Cithui (an ancient animist religion god’s name). In-order to avoid sickness or death for the year, people had to bring offerings such as a dog, a chicken or a goat for a burning offering to Cithui at the rice farm on the eve of Losak Khotue, said Dr. Val Thang.
The festival song called TANGLA (TANGLASOL) has historically been attributed to three brothers, Lung Ngo, Batu and Thai Phum, Without a performance of the traditional song TANGLA it was an incomplete Losak festival, and we can trace the meaning and historical background of the Losak festival through that traditional song TANGLA, as well.
Tanglasol means Hulasol (sing for a woman) at the Dae sport. Dae sport is a Chin traditional sport and it is a kind of power competition between two men, who use leather shields to attack each other. This traditional song, Tanglasol, was sung only at Dae sport competitions. This Dae sport competition was historically found only in Batupui
village. Khotue means the particular person who was hosting the festival by sacrificing an Ox or a Pig as a public food. Nowadays, people call it the Losak Khotue festival, and it is hosted and organized by the community.
In ancient times, many of the Matu people were threatened by surrounding enemy tribes; for example, the Senthang tribe attacked Haltu village, the Thang Aw tribe attacked NgaLeng village, and when it comes to Batupui village, Cin Zah chief Sabongpuei Van Sen said Batupui is too big for us to win them. So they stopped attacking Matu people from that time. When British troops came to Batupui, they mentioned again that Batupui was the largest village in Chin state.
May God bless you in a happy Losak Khotue. John Mensing is an experienced editor who has served in Asia for over twenty years, specializing in Buddhist Studies. He is also a Senior Editor at the Global Digest magazine.
Members of Global Matu Organization celebrate Losak Khotue festival in Norway
Dae sport competitions held by members of Global Matu Organization