Every child is given a name immediately after birth. It is called by that name. But there is a village where a child is not named after birth. Instead, the tune is called. The village is in Meghalaya, India, named Kangthong.
According to the BBC report, in Kongthong village, mothers make tunes instead of baby names. The child is identified not by name but by sound. Not only mothers, children’s fathers or relatives can also call them in this tone. But only mothers have the right to make tunes. Usually the tunes are slightly shorter. Some tunes are long.
In the jungles of Kongthong, the sound of whistling or chirping is often heard in tune with the song. None of these words belong to birds. Every call is human. And this word is used to call someone else.
Everyone in this village still follows this old custom of naming. Surprisingly, no one in the village can say exactly when, when and how this custom started. But the name is not given immediately after birth. Mothers spend a week composing songs for their children and setting them to music. Even if you write the lyrics and set the tune to it, at some point only the tune is established. It is one of the means of expressing the mother’s love for her child. Then the child is called according to that tone. Children get used to hearing their names sung to the tune of a song from an early age. Each song has a different melody, there is no chance of matching one song with another.
This ritual of singing is called ‘Jingrai Aobi’ or Song of the First Mother of the Clan. This village is mainly inhabited by Khasia people. This population of India is matriarchal. This means that the land and property goes from the mother to the daughters, after marriage the husbands have to go to their wives’ houses to live.
This village has become a center of attraction for tourists since long. Many people visit this village on the hill. UNESCO has also recognized Kongthong village as the Best Tourism Village.