Chalo Loku (Nocte)

The term for the festival used by the Noctes in their dialect “Loku” is derived from “Lofe” (to drive out) and “Rang-Ku” (season). Thus “Loku” literally means to drive out the old season of the year. It is celebrated in some villages during the month of July/August and in some villages after reaping of Ahu paddy during the month of October/November. After calculating the digits of the waxing moon, the date for starting the festival is fixed by the village elders. Every Nocte village is echoed by the declaration of the date for celebration of Loku. Young boys and girls go to forest to collect “Kow” leaves for making dishes and cups. They are also required to collect firewood for bonfire to be lighted during Loku festival. They also collect subscription of rice and beer from each household.

The festival starts with slaughtering of pigs and buffalos. The first bustle of Loku is called “Famlam” . On this day all are busy with collection of articles for entertainment, buffalos and pigs are to be slaughtered and rice beer is to make ready. At night the village elders assemble in the Chief’s house and talk to each other.

The second day of the festival is called “Chamkatja”. On this day all goes to a place called “Chaatam” which is situated generally in the outskirt of the village. There everybody offers prayer headed by the chief for well being of the people and for better agricultural product. After prayer they take meal and rice beer. Dancing starts just finishing their meal and they come dancing to the chief’s house. As soon as they reached the chief’s house they start blank fire from their guns. In the chief’s house they dance for 2/3 hours. This dance is called “Chamwangbong”. After taking rest for a while again all start dancing with their traditional ceremonial dresses and continue upto till dawn.

The third day is called “Thanglangja”. In the morning the village elders and the chief see omen by breaking eggs collected from the village and select jhoom plots for new year’s cultivation on the basis of the omen shown by the eggs. On this day too villagers used to visit each others place and take food and drink. Then goes to “Songlongthong” (the courtyard of chief;s house) and dance there. They take food and drinks there and the festival comes to an end. They bid farewell to the festival singing :

“LOKU LA LIEM TA CHONGPO LAZU TA PANRI LA CHUN TA JA JA CHONO JA NEPA BA HURO JA TAO HANGLOMA CHA HANGLOMA”

(Blooming flowers have fallen down, fruits have mellowed, Loku also ended. Go away Loku and please do come in the next year with a new spirit and with the blessing that we will reap good harvest)