Festivals of Manipur, A Mesmerising Visual Treat to Your Eyes


Festivals of Manipur
Image – Wikimedia

Manipur, one of India’s Seven Sister States, lies nestled among the highlands. In many aspects, the state is unique from the others, and it is well known for its costumes, arts, dancing, and music. The state is rich in natural beauty, with stunning lakes, gorgeous waterfalls, and lush green woods. The weather is excellent here, making it a relaxing area for visitors to unwind. It has been the meeting point of Asian commercial and cultural interaction for more than 2,500 years, blessed by nature’s richness and has a rich culture and history. This wealth is reflected in its fairs and celebrations. Some are conducted to commemorate the beginning of a bountiful harvest, while others are held with the goal of achieving more riches and success in life. 

Suggested Read – Culture of Manipur: Mesmerizing Tradition, Art, Music, Food and Festivals

1. Yaoshang Festival

Festivals of Manipur, Yaoshang Festival
Image – Wikimedia

The celebration of colours is known as Holi in other areas of the country, but Yaoshang in Manipur. Manipur’s Yaoshang festival is a five-day celebration that is widely recognised as one of the state’s most important festivals. Everyone, young and old, takes part in the celebration, which includes traditional music and dance demonstrations. The traditional Thabal Chongba dance, on the other hand, is the main draw of Yaoshang.

In the region, the Holi celebration represents burning, therefore people build huts and light them on fire to show their devotion. Because the term ‘Thabal Chongba’ means ‘Moonlight Dance,’ it is performed at night. Yaoshang is a five-day festival that begins on the full moon day of the Phalguna month (February – March).

2. Kut Festival

Festivals of Manipur, Kut Festival
Image – Flickr

Manipal’s Kut festival, also known as Chavang Kut, is one of the most popular in the state. It is celebrated by the Kuki-Chin-Mizo tribes of Manipur. People from all groups in Manipur congregate to celebrate this lovely festival, which celebrates the end of the harvesting season and allows them to thank the gods for a plentiful crop.

That is why the event is called as Chavang Kut; Chavang means “autumn” and Kut means “harvest.” The Kut celebration used to run many days and included numerous ceremonies. This charming Manipuri event takes place on November 1st. Farmers assemble their full harvest to commemorate the success of a robust crop.

3. Heirku Hindongba

Festivals of Manipur, Heirku Hindongba
Image – Wikimedia

Another celebration in Manipur is Heirku Hindongba, which is held on the 11th day of the Langbal month (September). This is a boat racing extravaganza on the canal at Bijoy Govinda, Manipur. Local youths engage in this thrilling boat race with vigour, zeal, and team spirit. The boats are cleansed, and sanctified with sacred shlokas, and flowers are placed on them on the night of the celebration. Temporary tents are also set up along the canal to accommodate guests from all around the state.

The statue of Shri Vishnu is put along the canal with the idea that God will oversee the race and preside over the festivities. Furthermore, Brahmins offer money and silver to the gods before the commencement of the boat race.

4. Gang Ngai Festival

Festivals of Manipur, Gang Ngai Festival
Image – Wikimedia

Manipur has been home to several indigenous tribes for millennia. These tribes are well-known for their magnificent culture, varied lives, and a variety of religious traditions and festivals. The Kabui Nagas are one of Manipur’s most famous tribal clans. The Gang Ngai Festival, which is celebrated with tremendous fervour and devotion, is one of Manipur’s most prominent events. Dance, revelry, music, and spiritual rites are all linked with the Gang-Ngai festival. Gang Ngai is a winter event that is also known as Chakan Gaan-Ngai.

This well-known celebration in Manipur lasts five days and is observed in various sections of the state. The Gang Ngai event takes place in December and January. It is observed throughout the course of five days.

5. Ningol Chakouba

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Ningol Chakouba, a Meitei or Vaishnavite festival, is one of Manipur’s most significant festivities. Muslims in Manipur are also now participating in this celebration. Throughout the celebration, married ladies who reside in rural regions after marriage are invited to their parents’ houses to spend time with their children. They are greeted with great excitement and affection, and extravagant feasts are prepared for them.

They spend the entire day pampering their parents and returning to their respective marital houses with presents and blessings. Ningol Chakouba is conducted annually on the second day of the New Moon in November.

6. Cheiraoba Festival

Festivals of Manipur, Cheiraoba Festival
Image – Wikimedia

Manipur, which is surrounded by the mighty Himalayas, is known for its timeless beauty, towering hills, abundant flora, and quiet atmosphere. This lovely state’s description would be incomplete without highlighting its magnificent customs, traditions, and, most notably, the numerous thrilling festivals celebrated throughout the year. Among the several festivals in Manipur, Cheiraoba is well-known and holds a particular place in the hearts of the people. The Cheiraoba festival is celebrated throughout Manipur to commemorate the beginning of a new year.

For this occasion, people dress up in traditional clothes and worship the local deity. There is also a custom in which presents are exchanged between family and friends. Although Chriraoba is a Hindu holiday, Muslims in the state also celebrate it. This ancient Manipuri event, according to the locals, indicates a deep link of devotion among family members. Cheiraoba is observed in March/April, on the first lunar day of the Sajibu month.

7. Lui Ngai Ni Festivals

Festivals of Manipur, Lui Ngai Ni Festivals
Image – Wikimedia

The wonderful Naga tribe celebrates many holidays in locations where this ethnic group inhabits. Lui-Ngai-Ni is a well-known name in various important Naga celebrations. The Naga clan of Manipur celebrates Lui-Ngai-Ni, or the seed-sowing holiday. Every year, this event in Manipur is celebrated with tremendous zeal when the spring season begins. The Naga clan celebrates the season of seed sowing with this event, which marks the beginning of the new year. The term Lui-Ngai-Ni is taken from three different Naga languages; the first word “Lui” in Tangkhul indicates seed sowing festival.

The second phrase, “Ngai,” is a Rongmei word that also means festival, and the last term, “Ni,” is a Mao word that also denotes seed sowing festival. Overall, the Lui-Ngai-Ni festival is a time of pleasure and celebration during which local Nagas pay tribute to harvest gods and ask for good health and wealth. The Lui-Ngai-Ni festival is held annually towards the beginning of the spring season and is consequently observed on 14-15 February. The ceremony also symbolises the start of the new year for the Manipuri clan.

8. Kang Rath Yatra Festival

Festivals of Manipur, Kang Rath Yatra Festival
Image – Wikimedia

Rath Yatra, also known as Kang in Manipur, is one of the state’s most prominent festivals. Kang, also known as Kang Chingba, is an eight-day celebration conducted in Manipur that is similar to the Rata Jatra festival held in Puri. This well-known Manipur event, however, is exclusively observed by the Meitei tribe. The festival commemorates Lord Jagannath’s travels as well as that of his sister Subhadra and brother Balabhadra over the course of 10 days. During the Kang festival, the deities leave their homes and the sculptures of all three deities are transported to Lord Jagannath’s Rath.

The word ‘Kang,’ a local phrase, derives from the same Rath (carriage) that carries Lord Jagannath and his brothers and sisters. Thousands of devotees pull this Rath along the way. Aside from its immense height, the Rath’s beauty, which is beautifully ornamented, grabs people’s attention. The Manipur Rath Yatra procession is quite similar to the Puri Rath Yatra procession, and it is only held on the first and last days of the event. Kang Chingba is a Manipuri lunar month event held in June and July.

The best way to explore the unique culture and lifestyle of Manipur is by attending these festivals. It will be a delight for people who love to explore new cultures. If you’re someone who wishes to explore the rich heritage and culture of this hill district, then you must visit Manipur during one of these festivals!

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