Wednesday, 17 July 2013


Scenic beauty of Wancho inhabited hills (freshly fallowed)

Wancho tribes inhabits the hilly terrains of Longding District, Arunachal Pradesh, India (located between latitude 26 degree 28ºN and 27 degree 30ºN and longitude 95 degree 23'E and 96 degree 26ºE). Bounded by Tissa River in the East, Mon district of Nagaland in the West, Patkai hills in the South and Sibsagar district of Assam in the North. The area is estimated to be 1050.5 approx. The total population, as per 2001 Census, is around 50,128 Approx. They forefathers are popularly known for headhunting practices. besides, they are also known for excel in inborn wood curving (males) and bead works (females).  

Wakka village
However, there is no written record of their origin but according to legends, Tinu- Longpho Sangnu situated somewhere in the South-West beyond the Patkai range in the Tuensang district of Nagaland may be consider as their place of origin. Further, they split into two groups and finally settled in their present habitat. These two groups came to be known as Tangjen and Sangjen respectively. The story in vogue among the Wancho people is that long-long ago there was a great flood and all living creatures were drowned. Only a man named Aju and woman Ajong took shelter on the top of a high hill and escaped. From these all the human beings of the world originated
Agriculture is the primary occupation in this region; whereas, hunting and fishing are secondary means of sustenance of the Wanchos. The Shifting cultivation or Jhum cultivation is the prominent agricultural practice followed by Wancho and mixed cropping or multi-cropping is usually preferred. On other hand, they also hunt and fish for food as well as for sport and go out either on formal expedition by the active community participation or in small informal parties of three/four to five persons only. The community hunting called as Mai Sham or individual hunting called Mai Tan. Wanchos are expert in fishing and trapping. The individual fishing is called Nyah-to-Ka and community fishing is called Showthu. The poison commonly used for fishing are Zuh, namely Zuhkai, Zuhjai, Tau, Bah and Hoyi etc.
During Oriah celebration
The social system of Wanchos is very unique and strong in nature. The Wanchos have chieftainship system since time immemorial and they mostly practice joint family system. The village council headed by the chief, Ngopa, Wangsham and elders are the main decision making body in the village. The marriage system followed in the olden days was purely child marriage system called Toikam/Nwchakam where the parent of bride and bridegroom engage   their child before they attain adulthood. However, now-a-days these systems have been abolished and depend upon the individual choice. Tattooing is the most unique and important event in the life of a Wancho. Tattooing is of two types; one is called Huhtu which is for womenfolk, and another is called Zanhuhtu for the male folk done after the victory of head hunting expedition. Oriah, Lawdan, Chahchawan, Pungzam, Pongwan and Khamdaak etc. are some of the major festival which generally accompanied by performance of various rituals. Among all these, Oriah is the most important festival which is celebrated on the month of February. Villagers usually celebrate this major festival soon after the end of sowing of seeds in their jhum uplands.

Young Wancho girls
 The traditional attire of Wancho comprises of a piece of cloth (Khehit) for male, and a skirt (Nyisa or Kheto) for woman called. The male folk wear headgear (Khohom), necklace(Liknu-Likcham), Ear ring (nathuak), waist belt 
Wancho man in traditional attire
(Zapak) etc. whereas, female folk wear fillet (Lik-Kha-dau), ear ring (natu), bangle (Khapsan), necklace(lik), shell(Thuak) and feather (O-Koi) etc. during the festivals.


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