Ningol Chakkouba Festival
Ningol Chakkouba is a remarkable social tribal festival of the Meiteis. Married women come to the parental house along with their children and enjoy sumptuous meals. It is a form of family-rejoinder serving as a means to revive familial ties and affections. It is observed on the second day of the new moon in the Manipuri month of Hiyangei that is from October to November.
Kut is an autumnal festival of the tribes belonging to the Chin-Kuki-Mizo, which is ethnic group of Manipur and other states/countries of their settlement. CHIKIM tribes understand one another's dialect because they share a common origin and folklore. The festival is being given different names in different places. But the spirit of the celebration is the same everywhere. It is a happy occasion for food-stock-laden villagers to make merry after a hard year's labour in the fields. It also is a thanksgiving fest in honour of the giver of the abundant harvest. The modern Kut is observed on the 1st November every year. It is new wine in new bottle. It glitters to dim the folklore of yore, attracts huge crowds and threat ens uproot the pillars of Christian decency and spiritual propriety.
Celebrated for five consecutive days in the month of Wakching(December/January), Gaan-ngai is an important festival of the Kabui Nagas. The festival opens with a religious ceremony on the first day and the rest of the days are associated with common feasts, dances and presentation of gifts.
It is a collective festival of the Nagas observed on the 15th day of February every year. This is a seed-sowing festival after which tribes belonging to the Naga group begin their cultivation. Social-gathering, songs, dances and rejoicing highlight the festivity. The annual festival also plays a great role in boosting the morale and strengthening the bond of Naga solidarity.
Yaosang Festival is celebrated for five days commencing from the full-moon day of Phalgun/Lamda (February/March). This is the premier festival of Manipur. The Thabal Chongba, a kind of Manipuri folk dance in which boys and girls hold hands and dance away their blues in festive tube-lit ambience is an inseparable part of the festival. Young and old folks collect donation from house to house and the money so collected is spent in parties and feasts. However, of late, time and energy earlier spent in the festival has been utilised in locally organised games and sports meets. Athletes got a shot in the arm, ever since.
Celebrated in honour of the sylvan deities known as Umang Lai, the festival represents the worship of traditional deities and ancestors. A number of dances by both men and women are performed before the ancient divinities. The Lai Haraiba of God-Thangjing, the ruling deity of Moirang, is the most famous one and attracts huge gatherings. It is held in the month of May.
Ramjan Id is the most popular festival of the Manipuri Muslims. It is observed in the usual spirit of joy and festivity as done in other Muslims worlds. Ramjan is the ninth month of the Hijri year. Since the time of Prophet Mohammed, during this month, the Muslims practice self-denial by avoiding food, drink and cigarettes from pre-dawn till sun-set. This month is in offering of prayers. After a month, on the second day of Shawal, when the new moon is visible, they break the fast. This day is called Id-Ul-Fitr. On this occasion, they go to the mosques to pray, take delicious dishes, exchange greetings and call on friends and relatives.
Cheiraoba Festival is a celebration of Manipuri New Year. Presently two groups of peoples are celebrating it on two different days in the same month of April, as one group referring to Manipuri Lunar Calendar and another to Hindu Solar Calendar. On the day of the festival, people clean and decorate their houses, and prepare special festive dishes, which are fist offered to various deities. As a part of the ritual, people climb the nearest hill-top in the belief that it will enable them to rise to greater heights in the worldly life.
One the greatest festivals of the Hindus of Manipur, Ratha Yatra is celebrated for about 10 days in the month of Ingen (June/July). Lord Jagannath leaves his temple in a Rath locally known as Kang pulled by pilgrims who vie with one another for this honour.
Heikru Hidongba Festival
Observed in the month of September, it is a festival of joy with religious significance. Along a 16 metre-wide moat, long narrow boats are rowed by a large number of rowers. Idol of Shri Vishnu is installed before the commencement of the race.
Kwak Jatra Festival
Goddess Durga is propitiated with pomp and ceremony in this festival. It is celebrated in the month of October and represents the victory of righteousness over evil.
Christmas marks the greatest event for all Christians. The solemn occasion is observed on 25th December every year. Prayer sessions, carol services and heart-searing sermons go together with the worldwide celebration of the heaven-ordered Birth of the Saviour of the world.
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