Hiyohey! For the mildly curious. Seriously interested. Immensely amused. Faintly irritated. Totally confused. Dangerously piqued.
What is Hiyohey? Hiyohey is the equivalent for “Hello” “Hi” “Cheers” “Bye” or even “Take care” in Li lingo.
Now you will wonder, what is Li?
Li is simply the “Chokri” word for “Folksong”.
And Chokri is one of the dialects spoken by the Chakhesangs of Nagaland, and our mother tongue.
Over the years, people keep asking us how we say “Hello” in Naga.
Well, Naga being pretty abstract and a collective whole of so many different things, it was hard to come to a word that stands for “Hello”.
And then it occurred to us that in Li, there is a specific salutation and a greeting word, specific to each type of song and manner and we realised that ‘Hiyohey’ is simply the perfect word for greeting.
It is a salutation at the beginning of a song, calling attention politely, humbly and fervently.
To pay attention to the song and the humble request to be heard out or given a listen, not to the vocals but the message. So it makes perfect sense to use it as an original Naga Greeting.
By that, we don’t mean that this form of greeting is a representative word of all Naga tribes, but in the spirit of Li and sharing the beauty of Naga music and our natural cheerfulness as a people, it just fits the bill.
So here we go….Hiyohey! Hiyohey! Hiyohey!
And in song….Do she mo ri, do kü da te le….
(We make a humble try……learners and imperfect though we are still! and hope to become better as we practice and work hard at it…)
Someone asked if we put “Hi” + “Yo” + “Hey” together to come up with the new and cool word.
Not quite. But God only knows how our forefathers came up with that one 😀