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!
  • Formation of Muslim Community #1
  • Maibi Jagoi at 'Poknapham Eema' : Gallery
  • Malemyai, Hatneichong, Soitinkhup : eMing
  • Outcome of LS Election reliable ? #1
  • The Shadows of the Khaki : Poem
  • The Naga Warrior
  • Website Designer at SiroiYatra
  • River Bank Music Fest : Gallery
  • NTC thrashes Rongmei Council claim
  • Ambassador for eco ties with Myanmar
  • Inner Manipur poll official suspended
  • GoI-GPRN/NSCN to sign CF extension
  • World Heritage Day @Kangla #1 : Gallery
  • Rising star, fallen angel
  • 'By hook or crook' best describes
  • M.Sc. / Ph.D. at NIT, Silchar
  • Conference: State in NE India & SE Asia
  • UNAOC-EF Summer School at Tarry Town
  • Ojha Thanil: Great masters of Polo
  • Down's Syndrome- Every Child is Special
  • Elam Indira : reception function : Gallery
  • The way he looks at me.... :: Poem
  • Kanglupki Erang Famlanba Yaningde
  • Empowering essence of a woman
  • Remembering Paul Gangmei
  • Commemoration of the Battle of Tengnoupal
  • Drought like situation prevails
  • Highway blockade @Kanglatongbi : Gallery
  • Thoibi Loi-okpa by Laihui #4 :: Ooba Video
  • Sanjenbam Mani : Veteran Sportsperson
  • Voting: Inner LS @Imphal #3 : Gallery
  • Walking with Racism in India: Where to GO?
  • Listing of Manipuri movies :: Android App
  • The Khongjom Day - 23rd Or 25th April
  • Easter Sunday - a New Hope
  • Developers @NetworkMaster, Imphal
  • Naoba's Chakhumang: Must for food
  • MHA plan for NE youths from militancy
  • National Fire Service Day : Gallery
  • Taming the wild forest fire
  • Revisiting the Lungnila story
  • Discourse On Gangte's Origin #1
  • 13th Shumang Lila Day : Gallery
  • Live with the Pain : Poem
  • Voting: Inner LS @Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Good Friday Exalted The "cross"
  • The Hands Full Of Glory
  • Dingo Nameirakpam: Runners-Up at Mr NE
  • MTech at IIT Hyderabad without GATE score
  • Students: Yangon Univ & RIMS Imphal
  • Move to nail NSCN leader
  • Mikap Thokpa Numit : Gallery
  • The perfect solution
  • Polls over: Will it make any difference?
  • Voting: Inner LS @Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • Loktak Landscape #51: Wallpaper Download
  • Interview with Viagra Haze
  • Hurford Youth Fellows @Washington, DC
  • RIST, Imphal - Popular Talk @MU
  • Ching Kaba @Langjing : Gallery
  • Comparison of Election Manifestos
  • Sophia bags Gangte Attire Contest
  • Wake Up Call To All Voters #3
  • Polling prep @Hatta Kangjeibung : Gallery
  • Teaching vacancies at Banasthali University
  • Mouna Khatladi Si Ngaaktani : eRang
  • Morok Metpada Jat Taba
  • Athoubashinggi Numit #2 : Gallery
  • Maram Nungsetpa Khousa #2 : Gallery
  • Free Technology in Food business
  • Requirements at Feerol
  • Imphal-Jiri-Tupul rail #4 : Gallery
  • GENERAX 2014, Fashion Show #2 : Gallery
  • Youth Development Prog @Sugnu : Gallery
  • Athoubashinggi Numit Kodompokpi : Gallery
  • A. Helim Choudhury: Veteran Sportsperson
  • Matric Pass @Drama Fest : Gallery
  • Manipur Tennis League @THAU : Gallery
  • Thangjam Modhu: Veteran Sportsperson
  • Feminine Voice in Indian Television
  • Elam Indira - Padmashree : Profile
  • Elam Indira : Gallery
  • Singzu Joint's "Making love in Imphal"
  • 5th Drawing Exhibition : Gallery
  • RIMS Post Graduate Assn (RPGA) Meet
  • Diamond Jubilee JN Dance #2 : Gallery
  • Outer P/C Polling @Thoubal : Gallery
  • Thoibi Loi-okpa by Laihui #3 :: Ooba Video
  • 'Unplugged' at OUGRI Fest: Gallery
  • hLlQKidraba ceQla maca :: Seireng
  • Outer P/C Polling @Chandel : Gallery
  • State Central Library : Gallery
  • Oinam Chanchan - Singer #3 :: eRang Photos
  • Eyek Tamba : Learn Manipuri script
  • Lamphel DC Gate :: Panorama 360ø view
  • Moirangthem Surma Chanu :: eRang Singer
  • Nandaraj Nongmaithem: Lalit Kala Awardee
  • SPONSORED ADS