Festivals of Manipur | Art & Culture | Nelive

Festivals of Manipur

Mar 12, 2015 18:08
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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:

Ningol Chakouba:

In Manipuri language, ‘Ningol’ means daughter/married woman and ‘Chakouba’ means invitation, so the festival is all about an invitation to the married daughter by the parents to feast in their parent’s house.

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 special day, the daughters and their children dress up to look their best and bring fruits of which coconut is the most important and sweets to their ‘mapam’ (mother’s house). A grand feast is arranged where many tasty food is cooked and all the relatives together have their lunch. Then the Ningol receives a lot of gifts from her family members and spends some quality and fun time with them the whole day.

Yoshang:

Yoshang is another traditional festival of Manipur which takes place when Holi is celebrated across the entire country. However, this festival is celebrated for consecutive five days starting from the full moon of the last month according to Manipuri calendar (known as Lamta tha). Yashong in real sense is the name derived from ‘Yawol Shang’ a celebration which is observed after their Lion Dragon King/God named ‘Pakhangba’ who is placed in a small hut and is worshipped.

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.

These traditional festivals are very simple and elegant and the people who celebrate these festivals have very beautiful hearts. Having a festival dedicated only to the meeting of the parents and their married daughter is one of the great things in India. It is wished so that every state and every community had the same festival meant for their daughters.

Mar 12, 2015 18:08
412
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About Author

Moumita Karmakar
Moumita lives in one of the beautiful and green states from the Seven Sisters and presently doing her M.A. in Mass Communication & Journalism. When she is not writing, you can find her discovering new recipes in the Kitchen or reading. Given a chance, she would like to travel and explore new places to know their history, culture and traditions and blog everything. Location - Guwahati, Assam, India. Areas of Writing Interest - Food, Health, Lifestyle, Automobiles.
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