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Mros or Murongs Religious Rites

The hill tribes observe a variety of religious rites and festivals in the fascinating landscape. Some of these rites are:

Roikkharam:

This is a festival relating to piercing of the ears. Ears of both boys and girls have to be pierced. Children of the age of three years have to do it. A trained physician performs it. At the festival a pig and a chicken are killed to feed the neighbors who are also offered liquor to drink. Ear piercing through this festival is done to accept the child into the Mro society.

Beliefs:

The Mros worship ghosts and spirits. They sacrifice cows and pigs on such occasions and eat their meat. They have no temples or fixed places for worship. Although the Mros are believers in Buddhism many of them have lately been converted to Christianity. Despite being Buddhists, they worship many inanimate objects. 'Thurai' is their principal deity and they believe that he created the world. According to them. Thurai once called a meeting of all peoples to grant them books of religion but there was none to represent the Mros.

After waiting for a considerable time, Thurai decided to send a book to the Mros. Coming to know of this the Mros began dancing and singing in joy and organised a festival of food and drinks. Thurai sent the book of religion, written on banana leaves, on the back of a cow. On its way to the Mro village through the hills, the cow became tired and hungry and ate up the banana leaves that contained the book. Consequently, the Mros did not receive their book of religion. When the Mros went to Thurai to represent their case he ordered them to kill the cow. Till this day the Mros celebrate the festival of sacrificing cows.

Cow Sacrifice or Siasat-ply Festival:

In Mro language, sia means cow and sat means killing with spear. This is why cow sacrifice festival is called siasat. Ply means dance. Such a festival is arranged by affluent landowners after jhum crop is harvested, usually during December-February. Mro youths in traditional costume dance in tune with the 'pung' flute around the cow already tied up; As the host orders, a young man kills the cow with a spear. As the cow bleeds the Mros rejoice. They eat the cow's meat in great delight. They draw the animal's tongue out, cuts it and hoists it on a three-pronged spear as punishment since the cow used its tongue to eat up their book of religion. For observing this festival a committee known as 'riwachawa' is set up with elders in the society. No priest is present on the occasion.

Worshiping and Rites:

The Mros worship or perform puja twice a year - in the months of Falgun and Ashar. Puja in Mro language is called 'khang'. Cakes are made in every house with new jhum crops. The festival continues for three days. Cows, pigs, goats and chickens are sacrificed in the name of their deity. Such worshiping is arranged to seek the deity's protection against evil spirits. They perform basumati puja if an epidemic breaks out in their village.

Champua Festival:

The Mros observe champua or banana leaf cutting festival. This festival rhymes with cow sacrifice festival. Cows are killed as the animal ate up the banana leaves that contained their book of religious and banana leaf cutting is celebrated as it contained their sacred book. On the day of festival young Mro boys and girls go far into the forest and cut the banana leaves amidst dancing and singing. This is called champua festival.

Krama Religion:

Krama religion was introduced by Mro youth named Menley. It is said the Mros found in their meditation before a hill suffering erosion due to torrents of water that the stones of the hill will give them solace and that behind the hill is a deity. In course of such meditation in the eighties of the twentieth century, Menley reached a miraculous juncture. He asked and got from the deity alphabets for the Mros and after this he introduced karma religion.


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