A Quick Guide to Festivals in Manipur

Laiharaoba Festival, Manipur
Loktak Lake, Manipur
Loktak in Manipur is the only lake in the world with floating islands.

Manipur is one of the pretty states of India which is located in the remote northeastern part of the country. The state is blessed with natural beauty and has unique culture, tradition and heritage. Though there’s not much inflow of tourism in the state, every year the land observes tourism festival,  known as “Sangai Festival” for 10 days with great enthusiasm in the month of November to promote tourism in the state. People of Manipur are very religious and friendly, they welcome guests with heartfelt hospitality.

Major festivals of the state are mentioned below:

Ningol Chakouba – Ningol Chakkouba is one of the major festivals of Manipur. It is celebrated on the 2nd day of new full moon in the month of November (Hiyangei according to Metei Calendar). On this auspicious day married women are invited for grand feast to their parental home. After grand feast parents and brothers give wishes for bright future and gifted items as per their capability.

HeikruHidongba Festival Manipur
Idol being ferried during Heikru Hitongba.

Heikru Hitongba – The festival is observed by the Meitei Community on the 11th day of fortnight in the month of September (Langbal Month according to Meitei Calendar). Boat Racing is the major attraction of this festival and before racing starts prayer offers to Lord Vishnu and Lord Pakhangba (God of Meities). Thangapat Lake (a moat) located in Shri Bijoy Govindajee, Sagolband is the official place for this festival. The racing of two boats captivates attention of visitors. After the race the Maiba (Priest) and Brahmans will decide the good and bad of the year.

Kang Rath Yatra Festival, Manipur
Locals join in the Rath procession.

Kang – Rath-Yatra in Manipur is known as kang. The festival is celebrated with full fun and great enthusiasm. Kang of Shree Shree Govindajee Temple is the largest one in the state, on this day deities of Shri Jaganatha, Shri Balarama and Shri Subhadra are carried out from the main temple in a religious way playing traditional music instruments of pung and moibung and is placed in the Rath (a form of car). Kang is celebrated for near about 10 days. The festival falls in the month of June or July (Ingen according to Metei Calendar). Devotees performed “Sankirtana’ every night in the Mandap and after that Brahmans offer Khechiri with cuisines like eromba, hawai (dal) and much more.

Laiharaoba Festival, Manipur
Men and women wear beautiful ethnic attires suring the Laiharoaba Festival.

Laiharaoba – This is one of the religious festivals of Manipur. Laiharaoba is celebrated to honor UMANG LAI (an important deity of the state). The festival is observed with full fun and entertainment. Every evening variety of programs performed in Laibung (an open place). During day time devotees perform Jagoi with Maiba and Maibi into the tune of local folk music. It is celebrated by Meitei Society only in the month of April.

Cheiraoba – Cheiraoba is the New Year festival of Manipur. On this graceful day people clean and decorated their house with flowers and lights. Every home prepare mouthwatering traditional cuisines like Utti, Eromba, Champhut, Fish and other varieties and offering to god. The head of the family offered these dishes and rice in a traditional way to god at the gate of house. People climb nearby hill as a major event of the festivals and it is believed that doing so receives a fruitful future life. It is celebrated in the month of April. Thangmeiband Cheirao Ching and Chinga Ching are two famous hills where devotees climb on this day.

Ramjan ID – This is the major festival celebrated by Muslim Society in Manipur. Ramjan is the festival observed after fasting for a month. Literally it is a festival of breaking fast. On this auspicious day people goes to Mosque or an open area to offer prayers to Allah. People gives wish to one another and in the evening visit their relatives and friends place and exchanged gifts.

Other festivals of Manipur celebrated by different tribes are Kut, Gang-Ngai and Christmas. It would indeed be hard to find a month where some form of festivities aren’t taking place in Manipur.

Photo credits: epao.net

Contributed by:

Oinam Kennedy (kenne784.wordpress.com)

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