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Lushai Culture

Like other Zomi group, Lushai existence of common cultural traits indication. Possession of clan songs by the clans forming the tribes is a unique feature of the Zomi. Members of the same clan in each tribe possess clan songs which were revered and sang at the time of mourning dead only. They love hunting, fishing and collect vegetables and fruit from the forest.

Food Habit:

The main food of the Lushais is rice and vegetable, which they produce in hills through jhum cultivation. Besides, they catch snails and crabs from nearby streams and hunt game birds and animals, which all the people of a village eat together. Generally, the Lushais prefer to eat food that is boiled with less water and little salt, and the common ingredients they use are pepper, onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, etc.

Among their favourite food items, the vegetable curry 'sa-um-bai' is the most common one. Fat is separated from pigs and is preserved for many days so that they can use it as cooking oil later. The word 'bai' means mixture. As pig-fat is mixed with green pepper and vegetables, this particular curry is called 'sa-um-bai'. To create good flavour, they use 'sa-um' with curry. When someone catches fish or hunts an animal, they preserve its meat for many days. They hang the meat above the oven and cook it piecemeal as required.

In the olden days of Lushai history, housewives used to brew rice-beer with the biggest beer-pots available and made sure that there would be no shortage of “Zu” means wine, when the hunters returned from their hunt. Usually they used to have lots of meat and rice beer better known as Zu with lots of merry making during the festival times.

Dress:

In the past, in some villages, the Lushais used to use animal skin to make their clothes. Then when cotton's use began they got thread from cotton and made chador (a sheet of cloth worn over the body) through waist loom. At the beginning, men used to wrap this chador around their body to cover it. And then women followed men, and this is how the use of chador became widespread. With the passage of time, women started making clothes of different designs through waist loom: puwanfen (thami), korchung (tops / blouse), etc. Men started using korchung (shirt) and puwanbi (lungi), etc.

In around 1600-1700 they made a costly chador of check design with black and while cloth and Lushai woman in modern dress Lushai woman in traditional dress named it 'dorlem'. Men wore this dress and decorate themselves with various types of ornaments made of tusks, while women wore garlands of costly stones. Some of the garlands were: kolthi, thifen, tangkathi and coin necklace. Besides these, the Lushai women used to wear various types of thami (dress), such as: puyan roupui, puyan chei, puyandum and w'ngte kher.

Puyan roupui: In the past, women of the royal families mainly wore this thami; however, nowadays women of all social classes wear it as lower garment especially in marriage ceremonies or on other social occasions.

Puyan chei/korchei: Lushai women wear this thami along with bhakiria (hair-clip of beads) on festive occasions and while dancing.

Puyandum: They wear this thami of red and black checks while entering a bereaved family. Men wear it as muffler and women, as scarf. Besides, various clans have their own distinctive dress and ornaments, which are still in vogue.

W'ngte kher: Both men and women use this thami, striped white and black, during dancing and daughters' marriage.

Colour: In the past, the Lushais used to dye their threads with fruits, leaves and barks of trees.

Ting: This is a kind of grass. They boiled this grass and thread in water together to dye the latter.

Juangting: This is the name of a tree. They dyed their threads black by boiling barks of this tree and threads in water together.

Rong ang (yellow colour): They produced yellow string by boiling paste of undried turmeric and thread in water together.

Kekfek: This is a tree. Seeds of the fruit of this tree and thread were boiled in water in order to dye the thread red. In those days, four colours (white, black, red and yellow) were used to make design on clothes.

Religion, Pujas and other Festivals:

In the past, the Lushais worshipped various deities, as they did not follow any particular religion. They used to worship gods and goddesses in their own villages, following their distinctive norms and practices. They also named gods and goddesses in their own way. On 11 January 1894, two Christian preachers from the Arthington Baptist missionary came to the Indian state of Mijoram in order to spread their teaching of Jesus Christ. After few years, Rev. Dr E Jones from the Welsh Presbyterian Mission came to this region to preach the words of Jesus Christ. Hence, Christianity was spread among the Lushais in a short period of time.

At present, 100% Lushais are adherent to the Christian faith. Along with religious festivals, the Lushais observe three main events every year. These are:

  1. Chapcharkut: In February and March, chapcharkut or bashonta utshob (the spring festival) is observed. Among their festivals, this one is celebrated with pomp and grandeur and by organising traditional sports and cultural programmes.
  2. Mimkut: This festival is observed in August and September to commemorate the departed souls of the dead.
  3. Palkut: This festival is observed during the harvest season.

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