TODAY -
Mera Hou Chongba festival celebrated
Festival renews ethnic bond among communities in valley and hills

Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, October 23 2010: "Mera Houchongba" one of the few festivals in the state not related with religious rites in any form was celebrated today to bring all ethnic communities together on a common platform leaving behind all the odds confronting the state.

The royal palace (Sana Konung) which is empty at almost all times was filled with a riot of colours as hundreds of people both from the hills and the valley attired in their respective traditional colourful dresses converged there.

The celebration marked by on exchange of gifts among the valley and hill people was hosted by Sana Konung Thougal Lup in association with United People's Front (UPF).

People of different ethnic communities in traditional attires and costumes converged at the Palace Compound in the early morning today and took part in a procession up to the sacred Kangla where ritual functions of Mera Mentongba and Mera Yenkhongba were held.

The procession was led by titular king, Leishemba Sanajaoba.



A procession during the Mera Hou Chongba festival


This year's Yenkhong Tamba and Yumpal Thaba rituals were performed by Thawaijao Kabui and he predicted prosperity and plenty for the year.

The procession after completion of the traditional rituals converged at Iboyaima Shanglen, Palace Compound where the main celebration function was held with Leishemba Sanajaoba as chief guest.

Chiefs of hill villages and officials of the Sana Konung adorned the dais in the function.

The function opened with a song presented by artistes of the Ching Tam Apunba Shieshak Lup.

It was followed by an exchange of gifts between the valley and hill peoples.

The titular king embraced all chiefs of villages coming from different parts in the hill areas showcasing the preservation of the age old close bonds and emotional ties between the hill and valley people.

Titular king Leisemba Sanajaoba called upon all ethnic communities in the state to strengthen the bond of love and understanding amongst each other so that ill fostered challenges ahead of the state could be defeated.

It is a must to work for bringing unity amongst all the ethnic communities so that peace prevails for good in the trouble torn state.

Expressing serious concern over the volatile situation in the state, the titular king said the state is filled with pain and grief of people who have lost their near and dear ones due to nonstop killings.

Something needs to be done to defuse this situation, otherwise the society will be led to ruins.

In every field, Manipur suffers by the day and in this critical juncture people should not remain silent, the titular king said and appealed to the people to have a thought for what needs to be done to save the society.

Recognizing the importance of the festival in bringing peace, harmony and to re-affirm and the the love bond between the valley and hill people; the state government apart from declaring a general holiday also held a state level function at Kangla Fort.

The celebration at Kangla was held under the aegis of the Kangla Religious Committee of the Kangla Fort Board.

MLA L Nandakumar who is also a member of the board graced the celebration as chief gueset.

Former minister RV Mingthing presided over the function.

Professor Sairem Nilbir attended as guest of honour.

In his speech as chief guest, Nandakumar observed that the celebration of the festival will strengthen the love bond between the people in the hills and the valley.

It is a must to popularize such a festival, which is not related with religion, he added.

RV Mingthing, in his presidential speech said that the celebration of the festival has opened the path for strengthening the bond of brotherhood and love between the people of hills and valley.

Manipur is made up of by both the hills and the valley and the age old co-existence of the peoples can not be broken down by any external force, he said.

Many civil society organizations also celebrated the day at various places across the valley areas of Manipur which has been hosted by the Meetei brethren since time immemorial.

"Mera Houchongba" which is celebrated on Mera nongma panba (the first day of Mera, one of the 12 months in Manipuri calendar) is the only platform that does not have any links with any religions practice.

The festival of Mera Haochongba which occurs in October every year as a one day event is an occasion for a heart-warming recalling the past glory of the land.

The pre-harvest celebration is filled with ecstasy and joy and has an irresistible charm when the colours change with the climate becoming milder.

The season is synonymous with peace and prosperity.

The festival has its own relevance of building the hill-plain relationship on a strong foot-hold.

It is only one of its kind which brings every community together on a common platform.


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