Chin New Year Celebrated Worldwide
28 October, 2008: Chin communities across the globe held a series of festivals in their respective residing countries, celebrating Chin New Year which, as most agree, falls in October of the modern calendar.
The festival, which is now mostly known and accepted as Chin New Year, has its traditional origin in association with cultivation in the olden times. It is a celebration in Chin culture when the Chin farmers and their families came home at the end of the harvest season after staying on the farm for months.
This traditional festival has been called by different names in different Chin dialects. It is known as Khuado in Tiddim, Fang-er in Falam, Tho in Hakha, and Chavang Kut or Kut in Thado and Kuki dialects. Described as a festival of joy, the festival is sometimes called Lai Kumthar, meaning New Year and also celebrated as Thlaithar, meaning thanksgiving or thereabouts.
Regarding the original history of the festivity, various explanations with slight differences have been given but most of them are connected with agricultural activities and share similar traditions.
“Traditionally, the festival can be said of having three purposes. It speaks about the concept of sanctification of the village which was thought to have been occupied by evil spirits while the Chin farmers spent months harvesting on their farms. It also speaks about the concept of remembering the dead and that of New Year or Thanksgiving at the end of the harvest season,” John Mung, President of Zomi Innkuan UK, told Chinland Guardian.
A two-day Khuado festival was organised on 17-18 October in London by Zomi Innkuan UK with about 70 people including a special guest Dr. Chin Do Kham from the US. The event, which has an increasing number of participants, has been celebrated in the UK every year since 2001. The Kukis in the UK did the celebration in late August.
“We are celebrating the day with aims to preserve and promote our traditional festival. We have traditional foods, sing traditional songs and wear traditional dresses. Instead of drinking home-brewed rice beer which was used in olden days, we have teas, coffees and juices nowadays,” added John Mung.
President of Zomi Innkuan in Aizawl J.S Tluang said the festival, also called the Chin New Year, was organised to promote the Chin festival in which the elders in the olden times used to bring the beehives for a good prospect for the following year’s cultivation, according to Khonumthung News.
In Rangon, the ‘Tho’ festival with traditional activities such as Chin wrestling and other competitions was held on 25 October where more than 800 people enthusiastically participated. Another celebration called Chin Kum Thar or Fanger was held by Falam Pawlpi Yangon on 14 October with more than 1,000 participants.
Chin New Year is celebrated in countries including USA, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Burma, India, Korea and Europe.
Van Biak Thang