TODAY -

Yaoshang festival in Manipuri society

Balu Thongam *



Yaoshang festival is celebrated on the full moon day of phalguna purnima and it is one of the most important festivals of Manipur. Sports festival is organized in every locality as a part of celebrating the festival since the last four to five decades. Main highlight of the festival is the Thabal Chongba (a folk dance).

The literal meaning of thabal is 'moonlight' and Chongba means 'dance', thus 'dancing in the moonlight'. In earlier times, this dance was performed in the moonlight accompanied by folk songs. The only musical instrument used was a dholakar drum.

Upto the last one century, this folk dance was performed only in the moonlight. Later, lanterns were introduced in the Thabal Chongba back in 1950s. Besides dholak, even dishes and metal tubs were also used as drums during that time. 'Patromax' was also brought into use in the Thabal Chongba as a source of light.

Patromax is a brand name, for paraffin lamps that use a mantle. Paraffin is called kerosene in the USA. Thabal Chongba is a Manipuri dance where boys and girls hold hands and sing and dance. Boys wore pheijom (dhoti) and girls wore phanek (loincloth worn by female Meetei) in the Thabal Chongba.

Yaoshang festival is not just for children, but the young and old alike take delight in this joyous festival. Songs, dance, drinks, food everything goes in excess when it is time for Yaoshang. During this festival, which is celebrated for five days, children especially girls collect money/donation from every road passers.

On the first day of the festival, young boys and girls go from door to door for Nakatheng after Yaoshang Meithaba. The money collected is spent on merrymaking. Children take special delight in the festival. Colours are applied to a big bunch of friends in their locality.

Pichkaris or syringes are also used by children to drench themselves. Abeer (colour) is of different bright shades of pink, red, yellow and green. Abeer is made of small crystals or paper like chips of mica.

It is said that Holi, an ancient festival of India, existed several centuries before Christ. Holi is originally known as 'Holika'. The full moon festival of Holika gradually became a festival of merrymaking, announcing the commencement of the spring season. Holi marks the end of the winter gloom and rejoices in the bloom of the spring time. It is the best time and season to celebrate.

The famous Muslim tourist Ulbaruni has mentioned about Holikosav in his memories. Other Muslim writers of that period have mentioned, that Holikosav were not only celebrated by the Hindus but also by the Muslims. In Bengal and Orissa, Holi Purnima is also celebrated as the birthday of Cheitanya Mahaprabhu (AD 1486-1533).

However, the literal meaning of 'Holi' is 'burning'. In Manipur, Holi is celebrated as Yaoshang. Instead of a fire, a hut is built and then set ablaze. The most prominent legend to explain the meaning of 'Holi' is the legend associated with demon king Hiranyakshyap.

He wanted everybody in his kingdom to worship only him but to his great disappointment, his son, Prahlad became an ardent devotee of Lord Naarayana. Hiranyakashap commanded his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap. Holika had a boon whereby she could enter fire without any damage on herself.

However, she was not aware that the boon worked only when she enters the fire alone. As a result she paid a price for her sinister desires, while Prahlad was saved by grace of the god for his extreme devotion.

The festival, therefore, celebrates the victory of good over evil and also the triumph of devotion. Lord Krishna also started the tradition of play with colours by applying on his beloved Radha and other Gopis. Gradually, the play gained popularity with the people and became a tradition.


* Balu Thongam wrote this for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on March 19, 2011.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO!
  • Dzuko Lily in Dzuko valley #3: Gallery
  • Wahengbam Mathang : Veteran Sports
  • Medical incidents & doctor-patient conflict
  • Sex Education needs to be liberalised
  • FaceToFace: Photo Story Competition
  • An Old Shield in a City : Poem
  • Scholarships at University of Berlin
  • Patriotic Day Celebration at Bangalore
  • SMSU condemn brutal killing at Delhi
  • SDSA on situation in metropolitan cities
  • DM College Students ILP Protest #1: Gallery
  • DM College Students ILP Protest #2: Gallery
  • Samurou Students ILP Protest #1: Gallery
  • Condoning opportunistic rape
  • Mankind's irresponsibility & deforestation
  • Sanjita Kh wins India's first gold medal
  • Tribute to Akha Salouni
  • Heat Disaster
  • Detecting Nontuberculous Mycobacteria
  • The officers : Poem
  • The Mizo Accord : Part 2
  • Rhodes Youth Forum at Greece
  • Consultation on Development Injustice
  • Human Rights orgs targeted by politicians
  • HR personels reqt @CloudZack, Imphal
  • Jobs @Ministry of Justice, Govt of India
  • Johnstone Students ILP Protest: Gallery
  • Ibotonsana Students ILP Protest #1: Gallery
  • Death Anniv: Rabina/Sanjit: Gallery
  • Mass condolence of Salouni at Karong
  • NSCN-IM's Red Herring
  • AFSPA debate: Impunity & discrimination
  • Shaloni: Mortal remains @Imphal: Gallery
  • Sports University: Greatest Birthday Gift
  • Culturals @BOI Anniv #3 : Gallery
  • Racism in Delhi :: News Timeline
  • CC Students ILP protest #2 : Gallery
  • Love that never really end : Poem
  • Skill Devpt in Food Processing @CFTRI
  • Interview with Cheisrah
  • Open Letter: Reg. Chingnungkok event
  • Training on Molecular Biology @CFTRI
  • Protest Meet Against Mapithel Dam
  • CEDAW Recommends Repeal of AFSPA
  • BJP Delhi stands for Northeast Citizen
  • MSAD Annual Magazine Maheiroi 2014
  • Hate crimes against people of North Eastern
  • Immunity for Soldiers Who Kill & Rape
  • CC Students ILP protest #1 : Gallery
  • The muted silence
  • Delhites & chinky North Easterners
  • Thangal Folk song :: Ooba Video
  • Development Injustice: Tiddim Eviction
  • We are making bad time a scapegoat
  • Dr Ng Shantikumar's Autobiography : Gallery
  • Community colleges
  • Early-flowering Orchids :: Poem
  • Murder Of NE BPO Worker at South Delhi
  • Meitei Mayek Script Exam at Pune result
  • Pony dying in birth place of polo
  • Hate crimes & Delhi Police
  • BCIM-EC & trade corridor Manipur at stake
  • Heikru Hidongba : Cultural History
  • Pahhoi, Ramnganing: eMing Names
  • Ngamkholen Haokip : Kala Akademi Award
  • Joining Defence Forces as Officers
  • Newspaper vendors decide to suspend work
  • Manipur NPF unit rejects allegation
  • Myanmar woman held for child trafficking
  • Nagas find a voice beyond militancy
  • September hope for talks: NSCN-IM, Centre
  • Indo-Naga Ceasefire: An analysis #4
  • Nagaland & Manipur Governor : Gallery
  • A Slap - The Slavery System : Poem
  • Freshers' Annual Meet TSA-B : Gallery
  • TSA-B 1st Freshers' Welcome/Annual Meet
  • Reqts @TASHI interiors, Singjamei
  • Wipro walk in: Science Graduates
  • Fundraiser Acoustic Music Concert @MDU
  • Thokchom Bonium :: Profile by Daniel
  • Thokchom Bonium :: Photo Gallery
  • Tangkhul Society under Siege?
  • Cleansing the Heart : Poem
  • Governance Needs Lessons From Brazil
  • The Agartala Doctrine
  • Alumnus CEO addresses Students
  • Openings at Leaf Solutions, Imphal
  • JNIMS cease-work in protest : Gallery
  • Exports from NE can help devpt
  • More check posts, LCS in NE
  • Mobilising our own resources
  • The Sublime Role Of A Teacher
  • Tamenglong #6: Wallpaper Download
  • Indisputable Reality: Your Experience
  • Unending Letter :: Poem
  • What TB got to do in AIDS Conference?
  • Openings @Cobigent Tech, Imphal
  • Service Engineer @CloudZack Tech
  • Memorandum to PM from UNC
  • Free Cataract Operation (08th batch)
  • How safe is institutional deliveries?
  • Mr CM's bold confession
  • Shirui Hills landscape #2 : Gallery
  • The taste of an Uoo-Morok
  • Longjam Nabadwip :Veteran Sportsperson
  • The 2014-15 budget ..right direction
  • Ailments Of Our Society
  • Natki Saktam : Fashion #9 : Gallery
  • A drop of hope : Poem
  • Sharmila not produced, warrant issued
  • Fellowships @Research Network, UK
  • Research Fellowship @University of Oslo
  • Minor and maids, & torture
  • LEP, investment & profit sharing
  • Indo-Naga Talks :: News Timeline
  • Landscape of Andro #1 : Gallery
  • Kidney disease in Children
  • POCSO Act vis-a-vis Police & Doctors
  • All roads leads to Police stations!
  • KEN- Manipur Boston Convention 2014
  • Mumbai Women's Intl Film fest
  • State BJP meet Union Minister Civil Aviation
  • 7 NE lawyers to give legal help in Delhi
  • Minister defends cop recruits from Thoubal
  • Panel push to bridge NE chasm
  • Dry Fish prep @Thanga : Gallery
  • Budget Projections
  • Water scarcity in July!
  • Soma Laishram - Photos #3 :: eRang
  • Kang : Ningol Pali : Gallery
  • Interview with The Dirty Strikes
  • Ramzan: One of five pillars of Islam
  • Death Anniv: Manorama #2: Gallery
  • View of Kangla: Gallery
  • Newman Hungshi : Akademi Award 2011
  • Kang Koiba @Ngariyan Ching : Gallery
  • Manipur's Development Debacle: Post 2015
  • Watching WC @Moirangkhom : Gallery
  • Dynamic Manipur's Inspiration Episode-3
  • MU Gate, Canchipur :: Panorama 360ø view
  • Interview with Potsangbam Renedy - #1
  • ILP Protest @Sagolband : Gallery
  • Bokulmakhong Imo - Classics : Radio
  • Chali shaba @Kang Fest : Gallery
  • Lam-Tak Lam-Plek: Koireng Dance :: Ooba
  • Chayetpaa Tomnao #2 :: eRang
  • Ibudhou Chairellakpa at Thanga
  • Mega Fashion Handloom #1 : Gallery
  • Shirui (Siroy) Town : Gallery
  • Statements: 26th UN Human Rights Council
  • Birendrajit Naorem : A Profile
  • Pambei - Scenes from film #3 :: eRang
  • Interview with Junichi Kajioka
  • Soma Laishram : Actress Profile :: eRang
  • Pre-order Chingda Satpi for Mangka
  • SPONSORED ADS