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Chak Festivals

Festivals Relating to a Baby's Birth and it's Naming

Staying at Naingchhangahrang: The Chak women have to stay in a big room of their husbands' house (or any kinsfolk's house) at the time of childbirth. Sometimes, they stay on a macha (platform) named 'Kabak' in a separate room outside the house, which is termed as staying at Naingchhangahrang. The new mother has to stay in this room for a term of six to seven days after the baby's birth.

Putrangbuway: This is actually a post-birth ceremony. After the birth of a new baby, the chharamah (wet-nurse) cleans the new baby, wraps it with a piece of new cloth and bathes with sandal water. Then a mixture is prepared with sweetmeat, rice and water and it is thrown into the burning fire. An old woman puts her fingers into the pot and then touches the forehead, hands and legs with her warm fingers. Wet-nurses have to wash their hands with seven pieces of turmeric named 'Kabueng' and with water too. This occasion is called Naingchhangahrang.

Bheglungshat Po or Chungbonglonguchheng Chhaheka or naming ceremony: The Chak believe in re-birth and astrology and consider themselves as the followers of their ancestors. For this reason, they name their children after their ancestors on the basis of the positions of the stars at a given moment and the auspicious moment too. But they generally add 'U' with the name of the first child and 'Thui' with the name of the youngest child. The relatives and the neighbors bestow gifts as compliments on the naming day and they are also entertained with quality items of food that is called Tongkeng. First dolna (rocking cradle) is made for the new baby on this day also.

Religious Rituals and Different Festivals

The Chak observe their religious rituals and practices in two ways. In some cases, they observe it according to the Buddhist pattern. In other cases, they celebrate some worshipping programs in honor of various gods and goddesses such as Laksmi puja (the worship of goddess Laksmi, Hindu goddess of wealth, beauty, prosperity and fertility), worship of flowers and the worship of candles, etc.

Wachho labrey: They also maintain some rituals in observance of different festivals. They observe the occasion of wachho labrey on the day or night of the full moon in the month of Ashar. For example, the killing of the beasts is prohibited on this day or night of full moon. The aged persons attend the Buddhist monastery and they stay there for a few days to perform the ashtosheel (a Buddhist ceremonial practice) as the worshippers.

Wagoyoyi: They arrange probhat ferry (the morning procession of people singing awakening songs) and observe Buddha puja (the worship of Buddha, the founder of Buddhist religion) with some offerings of flowers, cakes and pindo (ball of rice, flour, etc. offered to the deceased ancestors) on the day or night of full moon in the Bangla month of Aswin. This is called wagoyoyi.

As part of this occasion, the aged persons observe ashtosheel. A grand congregation is held on the last lunar day (the seventeenth lunar day). The worship of fire is held in the choitya (a Buddhist monastery). They play with different types of musical instruments such as baikpun, hne and langhua, and fly ngagachhamik (paper-balloon) in the sky.

Tengchhongmoon labrey: They take part in the bihar (walking for amusement or recreation) and celebrate this festival with some presentation on a day or night of full moon in the month of Agrayhayan.

Sangrai: This is the grandest festival of the Chak. A five-day long program is taken to mark the festival. They celebrate five different occasions in five- different days. The occasions are Panchhoeth (the day of offering flower), Akkayi (farewell to the previous year), Akkah (celebrating the happy New Year), Achadak (the day of correction) and Apain (concluding ceremony).

They also observe a special festival named ahukajeth mangala at this time. On this auspicious day, they unite together by forgetting all types of malice. They enjoy the Sangrai festival by making friendship between the seniors and juniors, paying respect to the scholars and respected persons and in observance of some other different occasions.

Kathing Poe festival: This festival means Kathin chibor dan (a piece of cloth worn by Buddhist monks). It has been observed for a long time. But because of poverty, the chibor (piece of cloth) that is prepared earlier is bestowed to the Buddhist monks. A padechha (dummy tree) is prepared with bamboo twigs and colorful papers during this festival and they bestow their offerings.

Tengchhongbook labrey: It is a festival that is held on the day or night of full moon in the Bangla month of Kartik. The Chak eat up different fruits invisibly as per their beliefs on this occasion. Besides, the aged persons observe the ashtosheel in the Buddhist monasteries and bestow the offerings there.

Angnaibook Poe: This festival is called nabanna festival (ceremony observed on first eating new rice in the Bangla month of Agrahayan). After harvesting the new rice from jhum fields, they observe it with singing and dancing. They also eat meat and drink wine on this day.

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