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Khyengs Religious Festivals

The Khyengs used to worship nature in the past. They call god ‘Hnadaga.’ They believe that god creates all the things. However, they worship a good number of gods and goddesses on different occasions. They sacrifice animals, birds to gods and goddesses hoping that that these deities would help an ailing member of their family recover. Later, they converted to Buddhism and practiced religious rules and rites. However, the Buddhist followers are still seen worshipping several gods and goddesses. Many Khyengs follow Buddhism because of geographical reasons. Nowadays, many of them converted to Christianity.

Sanglan: It is the biggest religious festival of the Khyengs. The Marma people call it ‘Sangrai’ and the Chakma people ‘Bizhu.’ This festival is organised to worship the lord Buddha. They pray and pay tributes to the Buddha by placing wreaths and by lighting candles in a monastery.

Celebration of the Christmas Day: The Christian Khyengs observe the day with due religious fervour to mark the birth anniversary of Jesus Christ.

Identity of different clans of the Khyengs: The names of different clans of the ethnic group strongly suggest that they have totemic character in giving names to the clans. The Khyengs living in Bangladesh are divided in two sections:

  1. Kongtu
  2. Laitu

Kongtu: Those who live in hilly areas are called ‘Kongtu.’ They mainly live on jhum cultivation.

Laitu: And those who live in the plain land or earn their livelihood mainly by farming are called ‘Laitu.’

Clans: The Khyengs are divided in several clans, such as, Mongcha, Khep Cha, Monglam Sa, Laibres, Lithu Sa, Peh Cha, Hok Cha, Se Em Cha, Wong Cha, Nin Cha and Mre Cha, etc.

Mongcha: According to a popular anecdote, a king employed a man to look after his son. The king gave the man all the responsibilities that include providing the prince with all services he needs. In other words, his job was like one of a janitor. It is thought that since then the people employed for these types of job have been called ‘Mongcha.’ In another view, the Mongcha were those Khyang people whom the king brought up.

Khep Cha: There were regions or provinces where ferocious people used to live long ago. They always resorted to violence with or without any genuine cause. The king was often extremely annoyed with them for their aggressive attitudes, and feared that if he failed to establish his control over such ruthless people, they would revolt against him. Then he selected a man who was endowed with the capabilities to bring those people under control. Since then, the people who have been appointed to this job are called ‘Khep Cha.’

Monglam Sa: The people who have been employed with the task to sweep the way the king used are called ‘Monglam Sa.’ In a word, their job was to make the roads the king took dirt-free.

Wong Cha: Monkeys at the forests or jungles irritated the people too much at that time. Both the king and his subjects were fed up with their disturbances. Hence, the king employed people to prevent monkeys, and these people are called ‘Wong Cha.’

Libre Sa or Leibre Sa: As popularly known, a Khyang girl married a Marma boy. One day the Marma boy came to the Khyang locality and started living with them. The successors of the couple introduced themselves as Libre Sa, and, thus the title became established for this clan.

Se Cha: People who carried spears to provide security to the king are called ‘Se Cha.’ It is to be mentioned here that other clans have meaningful names too. But since there are no written documents on those clans, the folk tales with regard to the history of clan names were subsequently lost forever.

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