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!
  • Luira Phanit : Tangkhul Festival #1: Gallery
  • Stray Birds of Spring -Yaoshang Greetings
  • An ode to a daughter : Poem
  • Human rights, the judiciary & the executive
  • Art Exhibition @Imphal #2: Gallery
  • Assembly's Agenda in connection with ILP
  • Seeking Neverland #2
  • JCILPS on Assembly session extension
  • NAMA Convention 2015 at Washington DC
  • Understanding DM University
  • Keirunghanba, Akongchamba : eMing
  • Bird eye view of Imphal : Gallery
  • Highway to Mae Sot across Tenasserim #1
  • In search of lost soul : Poem
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni :seed sowing fest #5 : Gallery
  • ILP : Women protestors #1 : Gallery
  • Social Networking: Boon for Student
  • Powering city transport system
  • Emergency/peace process in Myanmar
  • Multiple requirements at DBN, Imphal
  • Yaoshang Sports Meet at Bangalore
  • Bangalore Yaoshang Thabal Chongba
  • Noiseware : Ourgri '15 at NIT Manipur
  • Manipur folk represents India in Singapore
  • Delhi worst city to live in for NE
  • Reflecting incompetence of the Govts
  • Hackfest Manipur : hackathon at NIT
  • Hoo Chage #5 :: eRang
  • Discovery North East-Manipur #4 : Gallery
  • Tribal And Democratic Federalism #4
  • Genetic Counseling #1 :: Story
  • Matam Pumnamakta : Poem
  • Moirangthem Marjit: IEI Engineers Award
  • Girl: Is It A Boon Or A Curse?
  • Requirements for AjithEx Technologies
  • Free Training Program at AjithEx
  • ILPS solidarity to Sharmila's Fasting
  • Cashew Cultivation at ICAR, Lamphelpat
  • Pre-Match Report: Salgaocar vs Lajong FC
  • ILP Protest @Imphal : Gallery
  • MHA against repealing AFSPA
  • NE studies find space in DU curriculum
  • Talks venue disparity stalls truce
  • Panel okays 24x7 TV channel for NE
  • Troubled Highways
  • Need to check large scale influx
  • Pre-historic Manipur #2 :: Book Excerpts
  • Crossroads for Development
  • Hotel management as a career
  • Manipur Fashion Extrvaganza : Gallery
  • Black Swan: The chosen one #6 : Gallery
  • Seeking Neverland #1
  • Absence of Sovereign in NE #2
  • Features of 5th Generation of Smartphone
  • Special scholarship scheme for NER
  • In conversation with Kenebo Rajkumar
  • Manipur Assembly @Chingmeirong: Gallery
  • IM accused of abducting Khaplang cadres
  • Five full days of fun and frolic
  • Konthoujam Maikel : An Interview
  • Forms available : Ourgri '15
  • Traditional warfare of Zeliangrong #3
  • Nongmaithem Nandaraj : Profile: Gallery
  • Tamenglong #38: Wallpaper Download
  • Budget: Bang for India, Regress for NE
  • The Manali Experience #2
  • Meet the Young Writer :: Kenebo
  • Shilheipung - ecotourism centre: Gallery
  • Photography : Ourgri '15
  • Playing with the future of students
  • CBSE Exam Students protest : Gallery
  • Devotees of Kounu Lairembi: Gallery
  • Dignity
  • A Charcoal Drawing :: Poem
  • Call for submissions: Students Bridge
  • Ougri 2015: Beat the Tide [Upd]
  • Ruining lives and prospects
  • Indigenous Sports @CCpur #1: Gallery
  • An interview with Nongmaithem Nandaraj
  • Trouble with Correcting the Past
  • On MPSC exam for lecturer
  • Umanglai Haraoba #2: Gallery
  • Adubu! :: WJ
  • DM College : Gallery
  • Dynamic Manipur's Inspiration Episode 6
  • Conference-Social Science Institution @MU
  • Conference on Science & Spiritual Quest
  • Pre-Match Report : Lajong vs Mohun Bagan
  • Highest rise in foreign tourists in Manipur
  • Nothing substantial for North East in Budget
  • Time to scrap the PAP
  • Da Lem #2 (scenes) :: Erang
  • CCpur's electricity crisis; bad to worse
  • Gift of Bibi Asha : Story
  • Workshop: climate change @Tezpur Univ
  • MS / PhD admission 2015, IIT Madras
  • Requirements for Khudol Solutions
  • Indian Air Force Recruitment at Guwahati
  • Art Exhibition @Imphal #1: Gallery
  • Emergence of Manipur as Nation State: Book
  • Annual Games & Sports of Loyola School
  • Treating States as Partners
  • Cadre upkeep costs Rs 16 crores
  • Mad, mad rush for marks
  • Pre-historic Manipur #1 :: Book Excerpts
  • Painting Competition : Ourgri '15
  • PM to CMs on 14th Finance Commission
  • Thamoigi Mashak Da Lem : Radio E-pao
  • Reminder from JCILPS to CM, Manipur
  • Poppy destroyed @Chandel #2: Gallery
  • LoonyMart @IMT, Nagpur: Gallery
  • LoonyMart at B-Plan Competition of IMT
  • NE situation fragile: Centre
  • Spheres of Influence
  • No Govt job is a personal fiefdom
  • Nuisance of educated unemployment
  • Students @XII Exam #2: Gallery
  • Hard Times : Poem
  • Healthcare system & quality service
  • To the Man behind Housie games
  • Run Marathon in Imphal: Gallery
  • Maring Dance @Chandel: Gallery
  • Bioresources Summit: Imphal Declaration
  • On Lilong Haoreibi College incident
  • Goondaism and education
  • Kounu Lairembi @Senjam Chirang: Gallery
  • Making news of the absent
  • Radio: Votary of national integration
  • Saroi Khangba @MayangImphal: Gallery
  • Corruption, scam & issue of governance
  • Fundamentals for vibrant career
  • Lan Gaming :: Ourgri '15
  • 3 Closely Unrelated Haikus : Poem
  • ROUTE NE: Flag-off @Kangla : Gallery
  • Cleanliness Campaign at Soibam Leikai
  • 'ROUTE NE' the beginning
  • Saroi Khangba @Keishampat: Gallery
  • Dance Competition :: Ourgri '15
  • Arunachal Excellence Award: Dr. K. Romeo
  • Mother Language Day @B'Desh : Gallery
  • Felicitation of Thounaojam Kristina (Gold)
  • Thadou students on ITG in Bengaluru
  • Rupali Longjam - Miss NE #3 :: eRang
  • Influenza - A (H1N1) (swine flu)
  • Battle of Bands :: Ourgri '15
  • Bioresources Summit @IBSD: Gallery
  • Students @HSLC Exam (Class X) : Gallery
  • Selfie & Groupie :: Ourgri '15
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni :seed sowing fest #3 : Gallery
  • Bioresources & Sustainable Devel. Summit
  • Miss North East: Finalists : Gallery
  • Mr North East: Finalists : Gallery
  • Machil-Moupwa :: Funga Wari
  • Takhellambam Shyamkanhai - Waree Leeba
  • Khuman Lampak :: 360 Panorama
  • Snowfall in Ukhrul : Gallery
  • TRAU : Complete Team Player Profile
  • TRUGPU : Complete Team Player Profile
  • Laihui presents Hada Shamaton :: Ooba
  • Delhi Discrimination Survey: Download
  • SPONSORED ADS