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!
  • The game of Polo symbolizes #2
  • 24X7 Power to all Rural Household
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2015 :: News Timeline
  • Dailong Village Light of hill district
  • Legal provisions wrt sexual violence #1
  • In the Heady Days of Sky : Poem
  • Tamils Pongal at Moreh #2: Gallery
  • Pre-Match Report: East Bengal vs Lajong
  • Yangmasho Shaiza Death Anniv: Gallery
  • Death Anniv of Yangmasho at Tangrei
  • Amitav Ghosh reading at Imphal
  • Olangthagee Wangmadasu : eRang
  • Time to kick politics from sports
  • A case study of MNF movement #6
  • The Survival Mound :: Poem
  • Democracy On Trial
  • Kharam Students' Conference : Gallery
  • Jigsaw Puzzle #3 :: Story
  • Nengneithem Kipgen awarded PhD
  • HR body decries delay in repeal of AFSPA
  • Draining a pond in search of grenade
  • Racism in India 2013-2015 :: Timeline
  • Centenary of Rani Gaidinliu : Gallery
  • The Colours of Development
  • A day full of dance and music
  • Cultural changes is man's greatest falls
  • The Resurgent Thadou Politics
  • 66th Republic Day @Kangla #2: Gallery
  • wahH ? :: Seireng
  • Education is not about competition/merit
  • Seminar on mortality at JNU
  • Manipuri balladeer, 89, to perform in Delhi
  • Tulihal sees hope in new AAI boss
  • Delhi's new initiatives for NE
  • The Killing Fields (2013/14/15) :: Timeline
  • Politicians can learn from Yangmaso Shaiza
  • India-US bonhomie & reality check
  • Release of Sharmila & an insensitive State
  • Tamenglong #34: Wallpaper Download
  • When a Star Fell : Poem
  • 66th Republic Day @Imphal #2: Gallery
  • Revisiting Pacha's Imphal.critical prism #1
  • Take God's Hand
  • Thadou Dance @Chandel: Gallery
  • PhD admission 2015, IIT, Gandhinagar
  • World Wetlands Day, 2015 at Thinungei
  • Dr. Palin among 25 Healthcare Influencers
  • NE Community members donate blood
  • I-League Pre-Match: Pune vs Lajong FC
  • Is Assam in India, asked at Taj Mahal
  • From the days of Fiats & Ambassadors
  • Making religion a force for unity
  • Khodrak Waterways @Bishenpur: Gallery
  • Gaireimei, Adinbou : eMing
  • The ethics of life
  • Tourism undertaking : A toxic din
  • The Heart of the Matter : Poem
  • Understanding Rabies
  • Walkathon: Road Safety Week #2: Gallery
  • R-Day: Prize Distribution: Gallery
  • Jobs @CloudZack Tech, Imphal
  • Jobs @SKY Hospital, Imphal
  • Discussion on Mapithel Dam at Chadong
  • MSAD's letter to President Barak Obama
  • CFMG chairman responds to NSCN(I-M)
  • Gaidinliu anniv at Raj Bhavan, Kohima
  • The game of Polo symbolizes #1
  • Tamils Pongal at Moreh #1: Gallery
  • Rani Gaidinliu at a glance
  • Mass Grave Protest @Keishampat: Gallery
  • 66th Republic Day @Kangla #1: Gallery
  • NE women problems in metropolises #2
  • Revolution, Thy Name Is Woman
  • Scholarships: C4 Photosynthesis
  • Sharmila, Make By India Campaign
  • NE's rice beer has therapeutic value
  • DoNER camps in NE for redressal
  • Rani Gaidinliu remembered on 100th anniv
  • Four blasts near R-Day function venue
  • 66th Republic Day @Imphal #1: Gallery
  • Sharmila's arrest: return to absurd ritual
  • What lies beneath?
  • Entrance exams ahead: Time to be prepared
  • Kerala model of development, Analysis #2
  • Mathang gi Yengningthada #2: Gallery
  • Redemption :: Poem
  • Momocha awarded Vayu Sena Medal
  • Helping man's best friend #2: Gallery
  • I-League Report: Shillong Lajong Vs Mumbai
  • Dog Vaccination Programme at Moirang
  • Six from Northeast get Padma awards
  • Lift suspension on NE trade policy
  • Men in uniform: Harassing the public
  • Khuman Lampak :: 360 Panorama
  • Do we need Sanamahi & Umang Lai #4
  • Sweat after Life : Poem
  • Hypothyroidism: patient needs to know #2
  • Nupi Sabis of Manipur #2
  • Tobacco Free Institutions: Gallery
  • Irom Sharmila released #2: Gallery
  • Natl Games, Manipur contingent: Gallery
  • National Voters Day observed
  • Pre-Match Report: Lajong vs Mumbai
  • Nehginpao conferred PhD degree
  • Condemns re-arrest of Irom Sharmila
  • Hoo Chage #3 :: eRang
  • Irom Sharmila re-arrested : Gallery
  • Yubi Lakpi #2 : Gallery
  • WIM Cup 2014: football at Bangalore
  • Irom Sharmila released #1: Gallery
  • Condition of ISBT, Imphal: Gallery
  • Rupali Longjam - Miss NE #2 :: eRang
  • Sanarembi Cheishra : Funga
  • Dr. Naorem Bidyasagar : Akademi Award
  • Snowfall in Ukhrul : Gallery
  • TRAU : Complete Team Player Profile
  • TRUGPU : Complete Team Player Profile
  • Reshmi Sorokhaibam #3 :: eRang
  • Laihui presents Hada Shamaton :: Ooba
  • Delhi Discrimination Survey: Download
  • SPONSORED ADS