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!
  • Shirui Lily blooming #1:: Gallery
  • Nengsuanmang, Tonglen: eMing
  • Bandh against Nagaland #2:: Gallery
  • Dzukou valley: The day after
  • Child protection from sexual offences
  • Unsiko AEKoI, AmuQ :: Seireng
  • Relief trip to Nepal:: Gallery
  • SUNRISE Relief Trip to Nepal
  • Admission counselling centres in NE
  • Private Higher Secondary Schools
  • Centre to create 1L jobs in NE
  • Indecency slur on minister
  • Trapped in security paradigm
  • Wanna eat beef? Go to Pakistan
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Makar Scenes #2 :: eRang
  • Biodiversity for sustainable development
  • Kuknalim in Nagaland; chinky in Delhi
  • The Patriot :: Poem
  • Cruelty Towards Animals #1
  • Bandh against Nagaland #1:: Gallery
  • TR's 1 year in office
  • I-League Pre-Match: Lajong vs Pune
  • Naga insurgents losing steam :Army
  • 8 rebels killed in Manipur
  • Centre clarifies on spl category status
  • Non-sensical culture of VIPsm
  • Water Route to Boroikhal #1:: Gallery
  • Understanding Turmoil
  • GKCA's festival of solo performance
  • NSCNs exchange gunfire
  • Strike in Senapati on 'encroachment'
  • DoNER Ministry's security initiative
  • BioTech Conference @MU:: Gallery
  • Laimang Phamba @Kakwa #2:: Gallery
  • 4Bs of Election Fever
  • Is It :: Poem
  • Diary from Canadian Student #1
  • Technical Jobs(185) at NIELIT
  • Internship on Web Apps @Don Bosco
  • FOSS Training @Assam Don Bosco
  • Keishal: Scenes #1 :: eRang
  • Decaying Manipur health care #5
  • Freedom of Press: From Legal Concept
  • The Headline Story : Poem
  • Tamenglong #43: Wallpaper Download
  • Fire at Noney :: Gallery
  • Memorandum submitted to Kiren Rijiju
  • Rejoinder to R.K. Rajendro
  • Medical/Dental at Annamalai
  • Ethical Fashion Event #2:: Gallery
  • Hmar Student condemns brutal killing
  • Requirements at Kangla Solutions
  • Multiple Job Openings at Mangaal
  • Job Openings at Feerol
  • AirAsia Delhi-Guwahati flight takes off
  • Don't insult us
  • New initiatives taken up by Govt
  • Lairoi @Ereima Ima #1: Gallery
  • Know Your Test- Platelet Count
  • Illegal migrants from neighbour country
  • Aimol Khullen village : Gallery
  • Church and clean election #3
  • EDU-XPO, leap towards education
  • Kanarjit : Global Youth Icon Award
  • AHRC: Police officer brutally assaulted
  • Meghalaya shows the way
  • Defining police brutality
  • Top of Mount Koubru #3 : Gallery
  • CM with Russian Delegates
  • A Wall and A War : Poem
  • Manipur: The land of bandhs
  • Story of Naga People's Struggles #2
  • A Fiasco every now & again
  • Peace Rally at Noney Bazar [14 Apr]
  • State Arts Exhibition #2 : Gallery
  • I-League: Lajong vs Sporting Club Goa
  • Motivational Emptiness
  • Aruna : Dying twice
  • Koireng's affinity with tribes
  • Shri Tomba & Kei :: Gallery
  • Dharma from Buddhism point of view
  • Mob justice, justice on communal lines
  • Pension distributed @Jiri :: Gallery
  • Lean Startup Workshop 2
  • Taxi Drivers reqd at Virgo Cabs
  • Reqts at SKY Hospital
  • Jiribam Vegetable Market :: Gallery
  • Shaping Selective Memories
  • BOSEM and COHSEM keeping time
  • Contemporary Manipuri Short Stories #4
  • Big hearts for big political concessions
  • Statement on the Pallel Firing
  • Jemadar Abdul Hafiz VC (Victoria Cross)
  • Music fest @Santhei #3: Gallery
  • Cultural Forum day:: Gallery
  • Mt Everest 2nd Anniv :: Gallery
  • KRF ki thouwong adu Govt..
  • Everyone will be taken on board: Ravi
  • AAP versus Lt Governor
  • Cauldron of communal tension
  • NH-37 Pathetic Condition :: Gallery
  • World Hypertension Day
  • ADC polls: Road to power devolution
  • Flawed system & lop-sided results
  • Communal accord: Need of the hour
  • Buying Vote is Buying People
  • Has education failed family relationships
  • Living God: Best Documentary @LA
  • Ethical Fashion Event #1:: Gallery
  • All Community Meeting @Jiri:: Gallery
  • Vacancy at YVU Financial
  • Plea to stop communalizing issues
  • Medical camp @Boroikhal :: Gallery
  • Manipur Drama Fest :: Gallery
  • 5th & 6th schedule: Analysis #5
  • Toppers - HSLC Exam :: Gallery
  • Zillai Sports meet @THAU :: Gallery
  • Shri Tomba & Kei :: Play Synopsis
  • Recruitment of Faculty at SAU
  • Cherry Blossom Festival prog launched
  • 'Jewel of Manipuri Cinema' :: Gallery
  • Nagas must win to max possible extent
  • Ravi promises comprehensive deal
  • Curbing Hostility
  • HSLC 2015 : Top 25 Rank Holders
  • HSLC : Statistics / Subject Topper
  • HSLC 2015 : Full Roll No Listing
  • Laimang Phamba @Kakwa:: Gallery
  • Takao Kawaguchi and Manipur
  • Tree plantation @Jiri :: Gallery
  • RRM Kick-off :: Gallery
  • 4th Batch- Free Photography Course
  • Graphic Designer Vacancy
  • Workshop: Takao Kawaguchi @Imphal
  • Sanjenthong still constructing: Gallery
  • Subadar Netrabahadur Thapa VC
  • Revenge #3 :: Story
  • Birchandra Football Academy : Gallery
  • Archived News Photo for year 2015
  • Goura Lila #3 : Gallery
  • Ednn Min @HSE Result : Gallery
  • HSE 2015 : Result / Pass %
  • HSE 2015 : Useful Information
  • HSE 2015 : Science Stream Result
  • HSE 2015 : Commerce Stream Result
  • HSE 2015 : Arts Stream Result
  • Manipuri Sahitya parishad: Gallery
  • Wangkhem Bidyamani : Profile :: eRang
  • Bidyamani : Singer-Photos #1 :: eRang
  • Ithai School protest : Gallery
  • Heloise Rajkumari @Italy: Gallery
  • Tensions at Pallel : Gallery
  • U suba amadi Chaoren : Funga Wari
  • Iroisemba Zoo #2 :: 360 Panorama
  • MRVT&MW Bill- Contents : Gallery
  • Phone Directory :: Govt Officials
  • Laihui presents Hada Shamaton :: Ooba
  • SPONSORED ADS