One of the most stunning states in Northeast India is Manipur. Blessed with the abundance of environment and a rich culture and history, it has been a hub for Asian economic and cultural interchange for over 2,500 years. The range of ceremonies held there reflects the wealth. While some of these celebrations are planned to usher in a bountiful harvest, others aim to attract even more prosperity and achievement. The following are the top nine Manipuri festivals that you should be aware of:
One of Manipur's most well-known and esteemed festivals, Cheiroba takes place in April. For the Meiteis of Manipur, it marks the beginning of the lunar new year, therefore they celebrate it with tremendous grandeur and gusto. Every year, on April 13 or 14, Vaishnav Hindus commemorate it. On the first day of the lunar new year, Meitei's indigenous religion, Sanamahism, celebrates it.
People dress in their finest traditional attire and thoroughly clean their homes in preparation for the event. Along with bouquets of flowers and smudge sticks, a range of traditional delicacies, such as eromba, pakora, ooti, and many more, are made and offered to the local deity at the gates. Family members who are married (daughters, sisters, and aunts) visit their fathers' homes with gifts for the male family members. By following this custom, they are returning the presents they were given on Ningol Chakouba day. People want to dance their ancient dances at night.
Manipur celebrates Chumpha, a seven-day harvest celebration, in December. It is widely and fervently celebrated by the Tangkhul Naga tribe community. The majority of them live in Manipur's Ukhrul District. The majority of the tribe's members still speak Tangkhul dialects in spite of modern influences. People greet friends and family throughout the celebration, sharing joy and offering gifts to those who are close to them. Meeting friends and loved ones on the first day is filled with tenderness and love.
The festival's main activity is dancing, for which men and women dress traditionally in "Machung" and "Kashans," respectively. The guests are fed traditional foods such rice, fermented vegetables, pig, and Ngari. On the last day of the festival, the people carry out a huge procession, in which they participate very enthusiastically.
The fundamental attraction of Manipur is found in the diversity of its peoples, cultures, and festivals; the five-day Gang Nagai Festival is a prime illustration of this. This is one among the state's numerous yearly cultural events, but it stands out for bringing the state's many indigenous people together. This region is home to about 29 different ethnic groups, so it's not surprising that each of their celebrations and rituals has its own special flavor.
People from different origins can meet and build connections because of this variety. The Kabui Nagas are the main owners of the Gang Nagai event. An omen-taking ceremony is done on the first day of the festival, and the days that follow are devoted to a communal feast, dances by the elderly and children, the distribution of farewell gifts, and other related events.
In the Indian state of Manipur, February 15th is observed as the public holiday of Lui-Ngai-NIni. Every year, the Naga people celebrate this event to usher in the planting season. The many Naga communities in Manipur have the opportunity to refresh and deepen their sense of community with one another by celebrating and sharing their common history and culture during this event.
The festival's name itself is a combination of three terms from three distinct Naga languages that all mean "Seed Sowing Festival." During this festival, calling upon the deity of crops is supposed to provide an abundant yield from the recently sown seeds. Traditional attire, drumming, and dancing performances and songs are just some of the cultural displays that take place during the festival.
The biggest celebration in Manipur, Yaoshang, commences on the full moon day of Phalguna (February/March) and lasts for five days. During this festival, it's common for men and women to join hands and dance and sing around a central figure in a traditional Manipuri dance called the Thabal Chongba.
Both young and old alike go door to door asking for donations to celebrate, using the money to host expensive dinners and parties. What Durga Puja is to Bengal, Diwali is to the north, and Bihu is to Assam, so Yaoshang is to Manipur.
One of the most significant celebrations in Manipur is the "Kang" or "Rath-Yatra" festival, which is observed by the Meitei community, who follow Vaishnavism. The Manipur festival's origin and theme have been borrowed from Puri, Odisha's Rath-Yatra event.
The celebration, known as Rath Yatra (which meaning ensconced), is held annually to celebrate the day that the idols of Lord Jagannath, His brother Balabhadra, and sister Subhadra were placed in the Jagannath Temple in Puri, Orissa. Nonetheless, Manipur and Odisha celebrate the event somewhat differently from one another as a result of regional cultural change.
In Manipur, the Heikru Hidongba is an annual celebration that takes place in the Bijoy Govinda area on the eleventh Langban. Because there is a boat race on the canal to commemorate the occasion, this is one of the most interesting festivals in Manipur. For the race, numerous rowers are accommodated in narrow longboats.
The race takes place in a 16-meter-wide canal in Manipur. It is thought that the Heikru Hitongba activities will be overseen by Shri Vishnu, whose idol is erected before to the commencement of the boat race. Offerings of gold and silver are presented to the gods and statues by the Brahmins. Every rower in every boat is incredibly competitive, and they all give it their all toss the other vessel from its course.
The second day of the Manipuri calendar's Hiyangei month is when Ningol Chakouba, one of the state's most well-known celebrations, occurs. Ningol means "married woman," and Chakouba means "invitation for the feast."
Therefore, this is the occasion where married women are invited to return for dinner to their parents' home. One week before the event, the sons of the ningols customarily send out invites; the purpose of the gathering is to deepen the love bonds between siblings, sisters, daughters, and parents.
In Manipur, Kut festival, also called Chavang Kut, is a significant celebration. The Chavang Kut festival is widely celebrated and reveled in by the Kuki, Chin, and Mizo communities of Manipur. However, during the festival, Manipur residents from all walks of life gather to commemorate this amazing occasion. This festival is held following the conclusion of harvest season and is intended as a way to thank the gods for a bountiful crop.
Consequently, the festival's name is a combination of the words "autumn," "chavang," and "kut," all of which signify "harvest." Although the Kut festival has changed throughout time, its roots are in much lengthier celebrations that involved a greater number of ceremonies. The local vicar would distribute ju (rice beer) to the locals after the main rites were over. In addition to the games and feasts, the celebration also features dancing and singing.