Manipur is one of the most beautiful states in the Northeastern region of India. Though the hills of the state are mainly dominated by two tribes – Naga and Kuki, the valleys are further occupied by some small tribal groups namely Meitei, Bamons (Brahmins of Manipur) and Pangal (Muslims of Manipur). The Manipuri people have striking resemblance with that of the ‘South Asian’ people. One will be surprised to know that in this state, 29 different languages are spoken among which English and Manipuri (Meeteilon) are the two main dialects commonly spoken there. As the place has different tribes, there are different culture and customs as well and thus a lot of traditional festivals too are celebrated in the state. Festivals like these are very unique and are rarely known to the common people, so in this article we shall throw some light on the various ethnic festivals celebrated in Manipur.
Though the traditional festivals are observed on the basis of the Manipuri lunar calendar, the many of the other festivals of different states too are celebrated. The festivals are as follows:
This festival takes place at around November every year and it is a social event that allows the reunion of the bond in between a married daughter and her parental family. So to celebrate Ningol Chakouba, the brothers sends an invitation to their sisters around a week ahead of the celebration.
On the very first day, a ‘Yawol Shang’ will be made where the god is worshipped in the daytime and burn the hut after the sunset. This event is known as – ‘Yawol Shang Mei Thaaba’. Right after this, the small children goes from door to door in their locality to collect money which is termed as ‘dakhshinas’. On the second and third day, the girls visit their relatives for the ritual called ‘Nakatheng’ and thereafter block the roads for collecting dakhsinas.
On the rest of the days people splashes water on each other for fun and at night under the moon, girls and boys from different places unite to dance by making a circle. This ritual is known as ‘Thabal Chongba’ which means dancing in the moonlight.