(Last Updated on : 03/04/2017)
Cheiraoba festival is also known as Sajibu Cheiraoba. These are two different words. "Sajibu" means the first season out of six seasons to make a year and "Cheiraoba" means end of the year and beginning of a new year according to Meitei calendar. The main position is held by the smallest family in order to bring peace, harmony and prosperity for the family. The groundwork for the celebration is done ahead of the day of the festival. It includes cleaning of the house and furniture, shopping for new cloths for parents, brother and sisters. This is a chief and holy festival for the people of Manipur
Rituals of Cheiraoba Festival
On this day cooked food is offered to Hanu Kokchao and Hanu Leikham (the guarding deities) at the gate of every house. The ceremonies revolving round the festival starts early in the morning. The women prepare Athelpot that consists of fine whole rice, raw vegetables of different kinds, fruits and flowers of the new season. This is an offering to Lainingthou Sanamahi and Leimarel Ima Sidabi at the altars which are placed on southwestern corner and middle north corner of the house. Thereafter food is cooked for the family members to consume.
The cooked food will be placed on nicely round-cut plantain leaves and offer to Emoinu Ima at the fire place. This same fire is offered at the gate of the house to the god spirits known as Hanu-Kokchao and Hanu Leikham. After this the family will dine together. An unusual tradition of climbing of the Hills is also observed. The villagers limb up to nearby hill tops. It is believed that this enables them to rise to heights in their worldly life.
In Manipur Sajibu Cheiraoba is observed on two different days: Sajibu Nongma Panba - the first day of Sajibu by traditional Sanamahi Laininglup and on the day of Charak Puja
which was introduced by Bhagyachandra Maharaja. The first one is following lunar year and the second is of the solar year astrologically. It is assumed that on the first day of Sajibu month the cosmic Universal God -Sidaba Lainingthou Sanamahi stays on the altar of the house which is kept in the south west corner waiting for the offerings from his devotees. This day is the most sacred day.
During this month all seeds sown in the previous month of Lamda sprouts. It is believed that seeds of nine kinds of species like human beings, animals, fishes, insects, mosquitoes, trees, bamboos, pulses and plants have sprouted. They show their heads like horns of deer as designed by God.
The Cheiraoba Festival is the celebration of New Year in Manipur. This is a sacred festival of Manipur when all the people welcome the New Year majestically. The tourist visits the state to know-how the unique tradition that exists in the society.