Tuluni festival is celebrated by the Sumi-naga community of Nagaland. This festival is generally held in the mid-year (July) to mark the completion of paddy plantation and marked with feasts as the occasion occurs in the bountiful season of the year. Drinking rice beer indispensably forms as part of feast. Rice beer is served in a goblet made of bamboo or leaf of plantain. This indigenous drink consumption is called Tuluni which gives the festival its name.
Tuluni is also called “Anni” meaning the season of plentiful crops. During this festival, betrothed exchange the basketful of gifts with meals and newly-wed couple is invited to a grand dinner at the groom’s residence. Both the families of bride and groom exchanges dinner and packed food and meats wrapped in plantain leaves.
The fervors of feast is synchronised with a chain of folk songs and ballads. Sumis have two different clan-heads, viz. Swu (Sumi) and Tuku (Tukumi). The celebration originally stretches for seven days. Every seven day of Tuluni is significant, with each day celebrated according to the name given to the day.
Day 1: Asuzani is the day of preparing millet rice for the festival.
Day 2: Aghizani is the day when all varieties of Rice are pounded, clean and kept ready for the feast.
Day 3: Ashigheni is the day when animals like pig, cow and mithuns are butchered.
Day 4: Anighini is the day when feasts are exchanged among families, friends and peer groups accompanied with merry-making. The poor, orphans and widows are feasted by the rich and the wealthy of the village. The day is marked by sharing of happiness and love. This is the main celebration day of the festival.
Day 5: Mucholani is the day when all the elder gather together. On this day, the in-laws are invited for feasting. Meat and rice beer are also sent to the in-laws as presents.
Day 6: Tupulani is the day for the youths. A grand feast is prepared on this day. Young men and women dress in beautiful traditional attire, sing and dance the whole day, eating and feasting. Traditional games and sports are played on this day.
Day 7: Tughakhani is the last day of the festival and is declared a day of rest. At dawn, the oldest priest announces that none should go out of the village gates. The gates are shuttered to stop evil spirits from entering the village.