Meitei festivals

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Meitei sisters performing ceremonial dance to please the deities in a festive occasion.

Across the year, Meitei people celebrate a diverse number of festivals and celebrations. The festivals often celebrate events from Ancient Manipur and often coinciding with seasonal changes. Most of these have a historic significance to them and are rooted in rich cultural and traditional norms.

A Meitei sister holding a garland of gooseberries to participate in the Heikru Hidongba.

Every festivals which are indigenous to traditional Meitei culture have particular fixed dates according to the Meitei calendar (Manipuri calendar). Some of these are listed according to alphabetical order.

List[change | change source]

Cheiraoba[change | change source]

Cheiraoba (ꯆꯩꯔꯥꯎꯕ), the new year festival of the Meitei ethnicity falls on the 1st lunar day of Sajibu month in the Meitei year. During the celebration, people worship Lainingthou Sanamahi inside the Sanamahi Kachin, by offering fruits and vegetables available during the season of the year.[1][2]

Emoinu Eratpa[change | change source]

Emoinu Eratpa (ꯏꯃꯣꯢꯅꯨ ꯏꯔꯥꯠꯄ), the sacred day for Emoinu, the goddess of wealth and prosperity in Meitei mythology and religion, falls on the 12th lunar day of the Wakching month of the Meitei year.[3][4][5]

Heikru Hidongba[change | change source]

Heikru Hidongba.

Heikru Hidongba (ꯍꯩꯀ꯭ꯔꯨ ꯍꯤꯗꯣꯡꯕ), the annual royal boat racing festive event (a typical Hiyang Tannaba), falls on the 11th lunar day of the Langban month of the Meitei year. The event is mainly organized in the moat of the Sagolband Bijoy Gobinda in Imphal.[6][7]

Kwaak Taanba[change | change source]

Kwaak Taanba (ꯀ꯭ꯋꯥꯛ ꯇꯥꯟꯕ), the ceremonial freeing of the crow by the Meitei king, falls on the 10th lunar day of the Mera month of the Meitei year. Its main venue for celebration is the Sana Konung, the Royal Residence of the King of Manipur.[8][9][10][11]

Lai Haraoba[change | change source]

Lai Haraoba (ꯂꯥꯢ ꯍꯔꯥꯎꯕ), the merrymaking festival dedicated to the Umang Lais and the Lam Lais of Sanamahism, has no particular dates of celebration according to Meitei calendar. Some are celebrated for a few weeks while some continue for more than a month.[12]

Mera Chaorel Houba[change | change source]

Mera Chaorel Houba (ꯃꯦꯔꯥ ꯆꯥꯎꯔꯦꯜ ꯍꯧꯕ), the onset of the Mera month is marked by the united gatherings of the Meitei people along with the tribesmen communities of Manipur on the 1st lunar day of the Mera month of the Meitei year. It is during this event that devotees offer rice, fruits and vegetables to Lainingthou Sanamahi and Leimarel Sidabi in the sacred Sanamahi Temple of Imphal.[13][14]

Mera Hou Chongba[change | change source]

Mera Hou Chongba (ꯃꯦꯔꯥ ꯍꯧ ꯆꯣꯡꯕ) falls on the 15th lunar day of the Mera month of the Meitei year. Its main theme is the unity and love between the Meitei people and the tribesmen communities of Manipur.[15][16]

Ningol Chakouba[change | change source]

Ningol Chkkouba.

Ningol Chakouba (ꯅꯤꯉꯣꯜ ꯆꯥꯛꯀꯧꯕ) falls on the 2nd lunar day of the Hiyangkei month of the Meitei year. It is on this day that the married ladies compulsory visit their parental house to dine with their paternal family members, especially brothers.[17]

Panthoibi Iratpa[change | change source]

Panthoibi Iratpa (ꯄꯥꯟꯊꯣꯢꯕꯤ ꯏꯔꯥꯠꯄ), the sacred festival dedicated to Panthoipi, the Meitei goddess of war and love, is celebrated by her devotees, in the holy pantheons dedicated to her.[18][19][20]

Sanamahi Ahong Khong Chingba[change | change source]

Sanamahi Ahong Khong Chingba (ꯁꯅꯥꯃꯍꯤ ꯑꯍꯣꯡ ꯈꯣꯡ ꯆꯤꯡꯕ), also known as Sanamahi Cheng Hongba, is a grand chariot pulling festival dedicated to Sanamahi, the Guardian of the mankind in Sanamahism. It is on this day people pour a basketful of uncooked rice in front of the idol of the deity. The main venue of the event is Imphal. Notably, it was revived in 2018 AD after a long ban of 350 consecutive years.[21][22][23]

Yaoshang[change | change source]

Yaoshang (ꯌꯥꯎꯁꯪ) falls on the 15th lunar day of the Lamtaa month of the Meitei year. It is a five day festival, starting from the Full moon day of the month. Due to its coincidence with the timing of Holi, people imitate the Hindu culture of using colors to spray among one another.[24]

Other festivals[change | change source]

Rath Yatra celebrated by the Meitei Hindus in Manipur.

Since some sections of Meitei people also follow Hinduism and Christianity, the general Hindu and Christian festivals are also celebrated in addition to those of the traditional Meitei religion (Sanamahism).

References[change | change source]

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