In the month of November, every year, the members of the farming Community of Chizami who are strongly rooted in their belief of God, seek to give thanks to their provider by offering up the best of their produce of their land in a religious ceremony. For generations, even before the arrival of Christianity, the farmers felt the need to show gratitude to their gods for the diversity in food that they enjoyed leading to the establishment of a tradition centered on thanks giving.
On this day, the Baptist church campus, Chizami, comes alive with beautiful colours. A bouquet of the choicest vegetables, fruits, grains along with healthy animals are laid out in the morning sun displaying the agrarian wealth of the 1000 odd people of Chizami.
After the service, a prayer of gratitude by the pastor sets the festivities in motion. The offerings are blessed and bunches of bananas are distributed among the religious heads; the best bunch reserved for the eldest couple of the village. The church ground, which is transformed into a mini market, is set abuzz with people looking to buy the produce; the purchase are paid handsomely for as the proceeds of the sale go to the church as donations.
Through thanksgiving, this annual practice brings to the fore not only the agrobiodiversity of the land but the community’s respect for agronomy, the seeds they grow and the land that supports it. It acts as a platform for conviviality that is based on the celebration of food that they themselves grow.
Reported by Phidarilin Uriah, Associate Trainee, NESFAS from Chizami, Phek District, Nagaland.