Written by Media & Publicity department, Chavang Kut Committee, 2016
BRIEF NOTE ON CHAVANG KUT
The Kuki people love social intercourse and merry making. One of their cultural heritages, which they eagerly look forward to each year, is Chavang Kut. Every section of the people, whether rich or poor enjoy themselves on this festive occasion, forgetting all their anxieties and worries. Chavang Kut is a festival, primarily to remember the creator God and to give Him thanks for his abundant blessings.
Mim Kut is said to be the origin of Kut. Its name is derived from a plant called Mim, the grain of which is eaten. Mim Kut was held in honour of the dead and was also known as Thitin, meaning ‘Departure of the dead spirit’. The Kuki people believed that the spirit of the dead frequented its home for three Lunar months, immediately after death.
The origin of Mim Kut is connected with a young couple that fell in love and married. However, soon afterwards, the wife died. The husband lacked sufficient emotional, psychological or spiritual resources to cope with the trauma of the sudden death of his beloved wife and so wept inconsolably. One day, while weeping he fell into a state of trance and is said to have visited Mithikho (place of the dead), where he met his beloved wife, but found her famished. When the husband enquired about the reason for her ill health, she replied she could not procure enough food to eat, and implored her husband to go back and collect maize, cucumber, vegetable etc from the Jhum cultivation and make an offering so that she might have food to eat to her satisfaction. The husband did everything as told.
A few months later, the husband was again in a state of trance. This time he saw his wife well nourished, fat and stout. When he asked the reason, his wife told him that she became stout and lovely because of the offerings he made for her. After recovering from his trance, he told his friends all what had happened during his state of trance. It is said that from that time onwards offerings to the dead became a common practice.
During Mim Kut, fresh vegetables, maize and bread prepared from sticky rice (Changman) were offered to the spirit of the dead persons’ families. This Kut was also known as ‘Feast of Weeping’. Normally, the celebration lasted for three days during which Zu (country made liquor) was served and songs sung. Mim Kut is usually observed at the time of germination of maize, millet, cucumber and other vegetables.
In Manipur, 1 November, the day Chavang Kut is celebrated every year, has been declared a state holiday. It is the only traditional occasion, which bring together all the different tribes of the Kuki people on a single platform in a most harmonious environment. Besides the traditional cultural dances, certain novel items have been introduced, e.g. Fashion Show displaying designs and patterns representing the respective ‘tribes’, music performed by groups and soloists, and Beauty contest. Chavang Kut, as a cultural festival, is now not only a regional event, but has gained national and international significance.
In the good old days, the Kukis celebrated Chavang Kut for days together and indulged in drinking rice beer, dancing and playing variety of sports. Young boys and other strong men who know the skill of high jump also competed in Siel kal (high jump over the animal Mithun). Before the high jump competition the Priest would perform Siel Lhai Na (mollification of Mithun). After the Priest symbolically appeases the Mithun, the young boys of the village would wrestle with the animal. This is called Siel Bot. As per custom, the Mithun should be wrestled three times, and if not tamed, five times or seven times, but never six times. When the Mithun yielded, it is made to stand erect for the sport to begin. The winner is offered more ‘ZU’. Tug of war, wrestling, racing, dancing, Siel-Bot (Wrestling with Mithun), Siel Kal kitet (high jump over Mithun), Javelin throw were the main side attraction during the celebrations.
Kut is an event of great pride for the Kukis and a means through which the outside world identify them.
Following revelations of the Manasseh people, ‘Celebration of Brotherhood’ was adopted as the theme for Chavang Kut from 2014, at Moreh in Chandel, 2015 at Tuiboung in Churachandpur. Chavang Kut 2016 continues to adopt the ‘Celebration of Brotherhood’ as a motto and for its theme, ‘Bigger, Better and Stronger’ in keeping with the increasing number of the Manasseh family being discovered.
The year 2014, was blest with the discovery of 1. Kuki, 2. Mizo, 3. Kachin, 4. Chin, 5. Karbi, 6. Zeliangrong, 7. KONYAK, 8. Singpho, 9. HEIMI, 10 NAHEN, 11. PARA, 12 MAKURY, 13. LAINAU, 14. Naowa
In 2015: 15. PHOM, 16. KHIAMNIUNGAN, 17. CHANG, 18. YIMCHUNGER 19. SANGTAM 20. MISHING, 21. BODO, 22. KACHARI, 23. Miji, 24. Adi, 25. UPPER CHINDWIN SHAN, 26. WA, 27. tagin, 28. Miji, 29. KARENI, 30. NOCTE, 31. WANCHO, 32. APATANI, 33. BUGUN, 34. MISI, 35. PADAM, 36. SHERDUKPEN, 37. TANI, 38. KHAMBA, 39. KHAMTI, 40. LISHPA, 41. MEMBA, 42. MILANG, 43. MISHMI, 44. MONPA, 45. NYISHI, 46. SANGKHEN, 47. TANGSA, 48. ZEKHRING
The year 2016 has witnessed an addition of 49. SHAN, 50. KAREN, 51. MON, 52. Palaung, 53. Paoh, 54. Lahu, 55. Akha, 56. KARENNI, 57. KAYAH, 58. RAKHINE (ARAKAN) 59. OUG-CHIN, 60. TAI PHAKE, 61. TAI AHOM, 62. REANG, 63. CHAKMA, 64. LIMBU, 65. TAMANG, 66. GURUNG (GORKHA), 67. MEITEI, 68. SEMA, 69. AO, 70. LOTHA, and 71. GARO.
God’s revealed purpose of gathering together the Manasseh people
In order that Judaism is replaced by faith in His son Jesus Christ and Christianity may rule the world, God has revealed as follows:
Manasseh is the last chosen people by God from amongst the Israelites. As the Israelites disobeyed, in AD 75 God sent the Manasseh people in exile to China, where for a thousand years they remained slaves. During this period, they forgot their God and their origins and their physical appearance also changed. God also made them forget Hebrew, their mother tongue and gave them a new language.
Escape from China, where they were slaves constructing the Great Wall became their sole aim. They chanced upon a porcupine digging under the wall, which they gradually enlarged and made good their escape to Mongolia. A section of their population settled in Mongolia and Inner Mongolia, while the rest proceeded towards Siberia and reached near the North Pole where they stayed only for a week because it was when the sun did not shine. The elders referred to this extraordinary event as Mujin Lhun, darkness for seven days and seven nights. In the folklore of the Gangte people, who were snake worshippers feared the sun God was angry and so reverted to Sun worshipping. In the North Pole there is sunshine for six months of the year, and darkness for six months. Similarly, in the South Pole there is darkness for six months and daylight for six months. There is no such occurrence on earth as darkness for one week; our ancestors had wandered in to the North Pole region during the six-month period of no sunshine.
From Mongolia, the Manasseh people headed eastwards, the direction from which the sun rises and went to North Korea, South Korea and Japan, where they established their settlement. As it was difficult to cross the Pacific Ocean, many proceeded towards east coast of China, and to Taiwan, Philippine, Yunnan Province, Guangxi and Inner Mongolia in China. Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Burma, North East India, and Bhutan. From Siberia, a section of the population headed towards Western China, Ladakh in Jammu & Kashmir, and Sikkim.
The Manasseh people are in Northeast India, Northwest Myanmar (Burma), Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh and Jingpho (Kachin) settlements in Yunnan province, and other Manasseh settlements in Guangxi, western China and Inner Mongolia of China. This is not an exhaustive list. God has since revealed other Manasseh countries, such as Mongolia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Indonesia, Bhutan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Singapore, 20% in Taiwan, 40% in Philippines. Other Manasseh settlements in India include Burma, China, Nepal and in Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh.
In 2011 God revealed His plan to His servant Rev Chomlhun. According to the Reverend, God planned for the children of Manasseh to be taken to China and then to India, Burma, Bangladesh, and China in order that they may forget their Israeli origin and receive salvation through Jesus Christ.
In His plan to secure the children of Manasseh from the hands of the enemies, God spoke to the heart of the Chinese king, who accordingly bought the children of Manasseh, and brought them to China as slaves in A.D. 75. Subsequently, they were forced to engage in the construction of the Great Wall of China. Though they remained slaves, the children of Manasseh strictly followed and observed the day of Sabbath. Such religious observance of the Sabbath and other religious days and events greatly annoyed the Chinese king.
Therefore, one day, the king ordered all the people to go and work. In the meantime, the king let his men to steal the scroll of the Israelites and hid it away from them. When they returned from their work, they could not find the scroll. As they were searching for the scroll, the king feigned ignorance and told them that the dogs must have eaten it up. Mindful of the King’s assertion, they ceased searching for it, knowing that the King had hidden it. Thus, they remained without any book of law. In spite of that, they could somehow observe the Sabbath and other important days as long as the high priests were alive. However, after the death of all the high priests and with lapse of over a hundred years, they could not observe the law and all the other days and events of religious significance. As time passed by, after the lapse of two to three hundred years, they completely forgot about their living God, and their being of Israelites. Thus, they remained a Lawless society. Considering themselves as mere slaves of the Chinese, they remained bondage under the Chinese rule. After their long captivity for hundreds of years, they forgot their living God and their religion as they lost their identity; their facial outlook and appearances gradually changed, much similar to those of the Mongoloid race.
In the face of loss of their identity and their God, the desire to escape from the Chinese became their sole objective. In A.D. 1050 one day, a hunter spotted a tunnel dug by porcupine near the Wall, which led to the other side of the wall, i.e. the Great Wall of China. Presuming it to be the only means of escape, they dug a tunnel and made good their escape.
It has become crystal clear that we all are brothers, who are inseparable and indivisible. The reason I say God loves Kuki -Manasseh the most we have been given divine opportunity to integrate and strengthen the brotherhood. Among the children of Israel, we are descendants of Manasseh (one of the lost tribes of Israel) it is our bounden duty and responsibility to proclaim the Gospel to all the nations of the world. I firmly believe with all my heart that God has assigned us to resurrect the Kingdom of Christ. One of the reasons why I said God loves most the children of Kukis (Manasseh) is because God led the Israelis out of Egypt and took them to the Promised Land, protecting them from a series of war under the leadership of Moses, Joshua, Caleb, Saul, David, Solomon, Jeptha, Gideon, Samson and the likes. However, with the rejection of Jesus Christ as their Saviour (Luke Chapter 34: 1-16), the wrath of God fell upon them, following the fall of the Israeli kingdom. And God purposed the Chinese king to buy the children of Manasseh as slaves in A.D. 75, and by A.D. 1050, our forefathers journeyed to our present inhabited areas, where we have been relatively safe. For instance, the death toll in the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isaac & Muivah)’s ethnic cleansing campaign against the Kukis is less than one thousand, which I recorded in ‘Zale’n-gam the Kuki Nation’ (2008) and disseminated it to various parts of the world. Observing the anti-Semitic campaign launched by Hitler, which resulted in the killing of more than six million Jews, our ordeal and tragedy is not worth comparing. God’s love has been manifested in various ways: (i) Physically, we have been secured and safe, (ii) Spiritually; we have been saved, which I want to give more emphasis on as it is most important. For the salvation of our souls, God has secured us in our present-day inhabited areas by transforming us into Gentiles, to be saved as Christians. We identify ourselves as a Mongoloid stock while all the writers, anthropologists and ethnographers categorized us Tibeto-Burman group. Our forefathers worshipped different objects and forms, such as trees and stones as they have been lost. After experiencing such vicissitudes, Christ the Saviour brought us the Living Word of God, and our acceptance of which has assured us eternal life and we could celebrate Christian Centenary.
Therefore, today, knowing God’s purpose in sending of His Son to the world is the delight of God. Some sections of our community adopted Judaism and went to Israel. We should go back to Israel only to preach the plan of God’s Salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rather than going back to Israel, we, who have been saved, ought to organize crusades and Gospel camps to extend God’s Kingdom.
It is the will of Yahweh that we, the children of Manasseh, are a chosen people to be saved by the blood of Jesus Christ and that we praise and lift up His Holy name. If we respond to God’s will and worship Christ, we will be a blessed people far beyond our imaginations.
May Yahweh continue to bless the Manasseh people and celebration of Chavang Kut.