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Tug of war by Ao tribe, Nagaland

Known for various harvest festivals, the Ao Naga tribe is one of the primitive tribes of Nagaland in northeast India. Living mostly in central Mokokchung District, the major harvest festivals celebrated by Ao’s are Moatsu Mong and Tsungrem Mong. The Ao’s celebrate Moatsu Mong festival after the sowing is done and Tsungrem Mong on completion of the harvest.

Featured here is the arr sayiba or tug of war, the highlight of Tsungrem Mong festival of Ao Naga tribes, performed during the annual Hornbill festival held at Kohima in Nagaland. Stories say that in this tug of war, men’s team will deliberately lose the game to please their womenfolk.

The Hornbill festival is a celebration of the tribal culture of Nagaland, held every year in the first week of December in Kohima, the capital city of Nagaland.