Eth­nic From Myan­mar Cel­e­brates An­nual Tra­di­tional Fes­ti­val Losak Khotue

The Global Digest (English) - - Contents - By Staff Cor­re­spon­dent

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

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