TODAY -
Ethnic splendour marks Mera Houchongba festivities
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, October 04 2009: Rain could not dampen riots of colour erupted at Sana Konung, the rural palace where Mera Houchongba, the one common traditional festival of all ethnic groups of Manipur was celebrated Sunday.

As has been done for ages past, the traditional Mera Houchongba festival re-affirming the close bond and ties between the hill and valley people was celebrated at the Imphal Sana Konung and the Hafta Kangjeibung with titular maharaja Leisemba Sanajaoba presiding over the festivities.

Exchange of gifts among the valley and hill people before the titular king and presentation of gifts by hill village chiefs to Sanajaoba marked the festival.

The royal palace which is empty for most of the time was filled with riots of colour as hundreds of people both from hill and valley with their respective traditional colourful attire converged upon it.

Earlier in the early morning, the titular maharaja visited the Kangla Utra and participated in traditional men tongba and yengkhong tamba, yupan thaba (all related with the traditional rituals of festive) ceremonies.



Womenfolk in traditional attires braving the rain to participate in the procession as part of Mera Houchongba in Imphal


Exchange of gifts between hill and valley folk and traditional games, including mukna and mukna kangjei were the highlights of the festival held at the royal palace.

Before this, a procession marched from royal palace to Kangla fort where traditional rituals and hoisting of mera thoumei (traditional light) was performed by the titular king, Leishemba Sanajaoba.

Participants braved the indecent rain pour from this morning across the state to take part in the procession.

A grant feast is hosting by the titular king tonight in which chiefs of hill villages will have together with the king.

Chiefs of hill villages coming from far of hill districts arrived at the royal palace a day ahead were warm welcomed by Titular king Leishemba Sanajaoba to attend the Mera Houchongba celebration.Village leaders, chiefs and cultural troupes of Tongou village, Maram Khullen in Senapati; Konaitang and Machi villages in Chandel district; Saphailane village; Laikot and Tuisenphai villages; and Phayeng and Kakching Khullen were the delegates who arrived here for the celebration yesterday.

Young girls of different communities lead a procession of Mera Houchongba towards Kangla


Recognizing the important of the festival in bringing peace, harmony and strengthening fraternal bonds between the valley and hill people, the state government apart from declaring general holiday today.

Like in previous years, the state level function was also held at Kangla fort under the aegis of the Kangla Royalists Committee where chairman of the Manipur Tribal Development Corporation, MLA Manga Vaiphei graced the function as chief guest.

The celebration of the festivals has opened the path for strengthening the bond of brotherhood love between the people of hills and valley, Manga Vaiphei said speaking to the gathering.

Commissioner of art and culture, P Bhorot who is also the secretary of the Kangla Fort Board P Bhorot who presided over the function said the celebration of the festival will encourage in building oneness among the different ethnic communities settling together in the state of Manipur.

The celebration of the festival recalled the origin of the people settling in the state which would help in strengthening the brotherhood love among the people in hills and plain.Many civil society organizations also celebrated the day at various places across the valley areas where people from hills nearby attended and exchange gifts as part of the occasion.

All Clubs, Organisations, Associations and Meira Paibi Lup (ACOM-Lup) also celebrated Mere Houchongba with a grant gathering at Iputhou Khamlangba Community hall, Sagolband Moirang Leirak.

President of the ACOM-Lup, Ningombam Indrakumar, vice president Neikimchong Kom, founder convener S Subadhani Thoubei member of Swambung Sairem Kabui Khul, Thoiba Kabui and Pakhanglakpa of Rajen Kabui graced as presidium member of the function.

Exchange of gifts between hill and valley people present in the function, performing of traditional and cultural rituals marked the occasion.

Banned by Garib Niwaz on acceptance of Hinduism on ground of purity and impurity or touchable and untouchable between the hills and the plain, Mera Houchongba Festival as a common culture among the people of the hills and the plain is one glaring evidence that had been in existence for centuries together before it was forcibly made to abandon.

On this occasion all the people from the valley and the hills brought together their offerings to the King all varieties of new arrivals of the year's crops and vegetables including paddy from their fields and made their festivities in the presence of the King and in praise of the Almighty for the abundance of blessings given to them and for a more rich harvests in the years to come.

Unfortunately, with the embracing of Hinduism this was discontinued with a decree from the King.

It was revived in recent years mainly with a view to bringing about a closer and better relationship and emotional integration among the people living in the hills and the valley.


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