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 Manipur

Festivals of Manipur

Manipur is a land of festivities, fun and frolic all the year round. Through out the year, Manipur is busy with the cycle of festivals. Hardly a month passes without a festival or two. The festivals of Manipur projects their cultural, social and religious aspirations.

Spectacular Festivals of West Imphal


1. Yaoshang

2. Cheiraoba

3. Baruni

4. Krishna Janma

5. Rathayatra (Kang)

6. Ningol Chakkouba

7. Heigru Hi-dongba

8. Durga Asthami

9. Kwak Jatra

10. Mera Houchongba

11. Kut

12. Gaan-ngai

13. Christmast

Festivals of District Senapati

Gang-Ngai

Celebrated for five days in the month of Wakching (December/January) . Gang-Ngai is an important festival of the Kabui Nagas . The festival opens with a religious ceremony on the first day and the rest of the days are associated with common feasts , dances and presentation of gifts etc.

Lui-Naig-Ni

It is a festival of Nagas observed on the 15th day of February every year. This is a festival of seed sowing after which tribes belonging to Nagas groups start their cultivation . Social gathering , songs , dances and rejoicing highlight the festivity .

Kut

It is an autumn festival of the different tribes of Kuki-Chin-Mizo Groups of Manipur .The festival has been variously described at different places amongst different tribes as Chavang-Kut of Khodou etc . It is happy occasion for the villagers whose food stock is bountiful after a year of hard labour . The festival is a thanks giving feast with songs and dances in merriment and joviality for all in honour of the giver of an abundant harvest . It is observed on the 1st of November every year.

Chumpha

Celebrated for seven days in the month of December, the Chumpha festival is a great festival of the Tangkhul Nagas . The festivals is held after harvest . The last three days are devoted to social gathering and rejoicing . Unlike other festivals women play a special role in the festival . The concluding part of the festival ends with a procession within the village.

Christmas

Christmas is observed for two days on December 24 and 25. Prayers ,reading of Gospels , singing of hymns, lectures on Jesus Christ , sports, community feast etc., form the major part of the festival . In some villages where the inhabitants are well-off , the celebration continues till January 1 on which the New Year's Day is also observed.

Festivals of District Tamemglong

Festivals and Dances of the Zeliangrong are closely linked up with religion, which is associated with their economic vocation and socio-cultural ethos. Festivals reflect different stages of agricultural activities, here talents, physical strength are expressed. Every month there is a festival. Common festivals are :

Gan-Ngai

This festival is celebrated in the month of December-January after harvest for 5 (five) days. Blowing horn herald the festival, fresh fire is made with the ancient friction method and distributed in every household. Villagers, irrespective of age dressed in their best attire, keep up the dance and songs, intercepting only by short intervals of repose and break dedicated to feasting.

Rih-ngai:(Chaga Ngai)

Celebrate during January-February is this War festival which is exclusively for male. No stranger is allowed to enter the village. Men abstain from sexual intercourse and foods cooked by women are not taken. An interesting feature is Raangh-Kapmei or shooting at an effigy of a warrior with pointed bamboo splits. It is believed that one who hit the effigy on:

the head, will be successful in war.
the chest, will be successful in hunting.
the abdomen, will be lucky in cultivation, etc.

Likewise there are altogether seven segments on the effigy, which they believed would reveal their fortune of the year.

Gudui-Ngai

Performed during the seed-sowing season in April. After completion of task like clearance of jungle for cultivation everyone will drink juice (dui) of ginger (Gu). Tug of war is performed between male and female as a symbolic representation of competition between God and Goddess for possessing the paddy. If the girls win it indicates a good harvest.

Banruhmei & Tarang

These are two feasts of merit performed by one who is bold, brave, philanthropist, generous and rich enough to feed the whole village. It is believed that if a man could perform both the feasts of merit during his lifetime, he is supposed to have accomplished his life's work. During Banruhmei various songs and dances are performed observing strict forms. The entire villagers, irrespective of age, will participate the feast, which may last a few weeks. The wife of the host will perform a special dance with a rice beer cistern of gourd, pouring it out rhythmically. Tarang (or Kaisumei) can be performed only by those who have performed Banruhmei, if he still can afford. Here the special house of merit called Tarang-kai is constructed.

Fair and Festivals of District Thoubal

The district Thoubal is mainly inhabitated by the Meiteis, the majority of whom have professed Hinduism about 500 years ago and the important fair and festivals observed in the district are a mixture of Hindu culture and the age--old traditions and local beliefs. the biggest festival is the Dol Jatra ( Yaosang in local Manipur langauge ). It is observed in the month of March beginning with the full moon day of Phalguna ( Lamda ) for the next five full days. It is a festival of colours and all people, young and old of both sexes, participate in it. During the day time, girls and small children come out in groups and beg money. Boys joined them in fun and merry making. During the night , boys and girls dance together to the accompaniment of music and drums.

Rath Yatra ( Kang ) is another important festival and it is performed in the month of Jyaistha ( Engen ) for seven days starting from the second of that month. On the first and the seventh day raths carrying idols of Jaganath, Balabadra and Subedra are drawn and flowers and bhogs are offered to them. During the night Choideb Palas are organised and songs are sung in praise of the almighty. Other festivals of no less importance are Janma Ashtami, Durga Puja, Ningol Chakouba ( Bhugni Bhuajn ) and Manipuri new year day. Ningol Chakouba is a festival peculiar to the Manipuries. On this day all women, married and unmarried, are invited and fed by their relatives and gifts presented to them after the feast. In between these festivals there are Ras and Lai Haroaba dance. Asvina, Kartika and Vaisakha whereas Lai Haraoba is a festival performed in the old traditional Manipuri style to appease the Umang Lais ( forest gods ).

Muslims constitute the next biggest constituent of the population. Their main festivals are Idul Fitr, Idul Zuha ( Bakrid ), Maharram and Milad-Un-Nabi. On Id days visitors are invited and fed and presentations given to them. Friends and relatives visit each other's houses and greetings are exchanged. Among the tribal mention may be made of the Gang-Ngai festival of the Kabui's, the Kut festival of the Kuki/Thados and the Luita of the Tangkhuls. Christmas is the biggest festival amongst the Christians.

Festivals of Ukhrul district

The ancestors were agriculturists and the year cycle festivals are associated with the year-round seasonal agricultural activities. All these festivals associated with sacred religious rituals and there were strict codes of conduct for all these feasts. The major year cycle festivals are :

Luira

The seed sowing festival which falls around the month s of January to March. This feast is celebrated with great fervor at Longpi and Hundung. Longpi, befitting their generosity, entertain their guests with lavish eats and drinks, whilest in Hundung one can see the maiden virgin dance performance.

Yarra

this is ante-cultivation festival and it falls around the months of April and May. Thought it celebrated by all, it is a youth festival.

Mangkhap

post-trans-plantation festival. This festival falls around the month of July. During this festival the people pray for luxurious growth the crops after thanksgiving prayer for the timely rain.

Darreo

This is a pre-harvest festival. Dharreo means the plucking of the new crop. On this day the first crops, fishes, live-stocks and other items are brought out for sale in the village market. It is fete day for the village. This day specially observed in Hundung village.

Chumpha

This is a festival of thanksgiving for rich harvest, now gathered in the granary. The mother performs special offerings to the God of harvest and the keeper of the granary. While the mother performs her rituals all males are not allowed to enter the house, hence they outside the house for the night but with lavish supplies of eats and drinks. Because of the nature of its celebration, it is sometimes known as the Feast of the mother or the Feast of the granary. It falls around the months November and December.

Longra Khamang

This festival is not general in nature but the family which had a rich harvest celebrates this festival inviting the group of the son's or daughter's party who had worked in groups rotation-wise. This is a festival for giving special treatments to the sons and daughters.

Thisham

Thisham is a festival in commemoration of the dead. It is on this occasion that the dance of the Dead is performed. This is the final rite performed by the family for the dead. It falls around the month of January.

Apart from these 6 (six) major festivals, there some event-occasioned festivals like; Kashong Kahao Zakhalat, a sacred ritual for dispelling pests and germs; Maa Khungkashat, acknowledgement of the rich crop. Ears of corn are plucked and placed at a post set apart for this sacred ritual in the house; Mawonzai, a feast to invoke the graceful blessings of God to human labour; Khana Kasa, a purification and naming feast; Ming Kaphok, this is a title endowment feast; Chumsin Sa Kashai, this is the ordaining feast of the daughter-in-low to priestess-hood, thereby endowing her with all the rights and duties of a family mother. Prior to this, she is no allowed to enter into the granary; Shimsak Kasa, this is the royal or noble house construction feast; Maran-sak & Tarung Khangkasang, stone or tree trunks erection feast to display the wealth and power of the noble .







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