“Chum-Sin-Sa is the practice whereby the parents of the bride has to offer certain animals to the groom family for a feast to announce that their daughter is capable of managing the house of her in-laws. Only after these rituals, the mother-in-law hands over the responsibility of the granary and house to the wife of their son.”
Chumpha Phanit is among the three most important agricultural festivals of Tangkhul community and the other two are Luita Phanit, Mangkhap Phanit. The festival is one of the most significant festivals of Tangkhul community especially for the married women as this festival marks a change of hands and exchange of responsibility.
In olden days, the menfolk of the village used to take out their bows, spears, knives, axes and others one day before the festival and keep them in their open courtyard and then they would go to the forest in search of crabs. The menfolk used to collect crabs and soft reddish clay of soil, spend the night in the forest and return only the next day with the crabs and clay.
The womenfolk later put the live crabs carefully moulded with the clay and put inside the granary. As mentioned earlier, a significant part of this festival is handing over of responsibilities to the newly married women. It is during this festival, the mother-in-law hands over the charge of the granary to her daughter-in-law after due process and observance of ‘Chum-Sin-Sa’.
According to Tangkhul custom and tradition, Chum-Sin-Sa is the practice whereby the parents of the bride has to offer certain animals to the groom family for a feast to announce that their daughter is capable of managing the house of her in-laws. Only after these rituals, the mother-in-law hands over the responsibility of the granary and house to the wife of their son.
Lovers are usually betrothed or married off during spring season and not in other season. The newly married women would help her-in-law family in tilling the field, transplanting the rice and harvesting the paddy and only through this phase of work, and then she would be recognised as the ‘Akhaivaiva’ (mistress of the house).
This recognition is only a process to entrust the responsibility of the kitchen. The ceremony of Chum-Sin-Sa is a must to give complete responsibility to the daughter-in-law.
The village authority or elders usually announce the date for this festival only after the whole village have completed their paddy harvest of the year. There is no fixed date for the said festival, and it depends on the completion of the harvest of the village. During this festival, the elders among the women folk invoke blessing from the creator to sustain their harvest.
They invoke for a bountiful granary so that it will sustain them throughout the year before the next harvest. The womenfolk make sticky rice bread made and share them with families, friends, neighbors and villagers and concluded the Chumpha Phanit with merry making.
Written by Tennoson Pheiray