ACHOR ABIMAJE, in this report reveals the healing power of Pan community’s mountain in Plateau state.
The ‘Ka Pang Mat Long’ Climbing of mountain festival is held annually by the Pan community of Jepjan Namu people in Quanpan local government area of Plateau state. It is believed that before anyone climbs the mountains, they must have something in mind that he or she wants the ancestors to do for them. It is a day that the Pan natives cherish, thus every son and daughter of Pan likes to partake in the event.
The non natives are also allowed to climb the mountains on that day of the festival, while those in charge of performing the traditional rites will go up to do the needful before coming down. It was gathered that whenever the people are suffering from a particular ailment and have visited various hospitals and exhausted all efforts to get cured of the sickness, they resort to the mountain, especially on this day of the festival. And after climbing the mountain they get healed. It is also gathered that women who could not conceive whenever they climbed the mountain have good testimony after partaking in the festival.
The mystery of this festival is that, if you are a Pan person and you climb the mountain you will see honey on the mountain and many other things. It was said that one can drink the honey without the need to drive away the bees with fire and they would not be stung.
Speaking of the mountain climbing festival, Miskagam Jacob Sule Dakyap the Miskagam(Chairman )Pan Community of Jepjan (Namu) said this is something that their forefathers had practised and is historic to the Pan people who all originated from one ancestor, Dafyar, whose twin sons, Dajan, the elder brother to Dajin founded Jepjan. He said “It was here that Dajan buried his wife, so women are now allowed to be part of the festival due to the presence of the wife of Dajan who is being adored and asked to pour out blessings of fruits of the womb to women who are looking for children.” In his remarks, the National President of Pan Youth Association, Sir Nathaniel Doekoos (KSM) said “Ka Pang Mat Long is a festival that has been inherited from our ancestors and we are trying as much as possible to pass it to the younger generations so that our culture does not go into extinction. “It is a celebration that also ushers in the harvest season. I call on all sons and daughters of Pan land wherever they are, to give the necessary attention to the promotion of our rich cultural heritage as a people, to become an international festival in this part of the country.” In the same vein, the chairman of Pan Youth Association Jepjan(Namu), Mr. Edmond Dajan said “This is a big celebration that we do have once in a year.
“It is a celebration of unity, love, peace and thanks to God and our ancestors for taking us all through the year up to the harvest time.” According to him, this is a rite that has been on ground since time immemorial. “In those days only few people often went to the mountain to perform the rites, but we are now expanding it having seen the importance of this festival and effect that has fallen on us as a people and on the land over the years. “So we took it upon ourselves never to let it down again after witnessing some horrific situations some years back.” Meanwhile, the Kopfyar Chief Priest, Nda Dakwat Dapia said Ka Pang Mat Long Festival(Climbing of this mountain) is what his father was doing with a small number of people. He noted that his father used to gather the people whenever he came down to see the well-being of the land and the people. “He would go to the mountain to perform the rites which I am doing today. I did not go beyond what my father was doing. “What I did is to allow women to come with us because it’s very important; they carry cow tails, singing and cheering the peaceful procession, following those on the procession with locust beans, tree leaves in their mouth.” He said “If you put that leaf in your mouth from the starting point, you are not allowed to speak to anybody until we finish from the mountain before the men can join in answering the song sang by women coming down to town and back to where the procession started.
“Before going for this festival on the first day of the month, I had earlier on come down from Kopfyar hill some months ago and appealed to the gods even before this day. So while preparing to climb the mountain I had to perform these rites of appeasing the gods with the pouring of mous (local brew).” The chief priest further stressed “as we finish the festival today, women are going to conceive and give birth to male children in abundance. Food, crops will be harvested bountifully and there will be total peace in this land. “Whoever is looking for trouble he is on his own, this festival has nothing to do with causing injury or problem in the land but is about our peaceful coexistence instead.” He cautioned his adherents who have gathered that before he pours out ‘mous'(local brew) whoever is there with evil intentions must leave or face the consequences of his evil on the mountain. “It’s only a fool that will say culture is bad, without culture we won’t exist. Culture gave us the opportunity to use herbs extracted from a tree to heal those who are sick. But today the new knowledge is about killing and destroying people”, he sadly said.
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