TODAY -
Hou Chongba celebrated with pomp and gaiety
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 04 2009: Toasting the age-old bond of fraternity among the different indigenous ethnic groups of the State, the traditional Mera Hou Chongba festival was celebrated today with titular king Leishemba Sanajaoba.

As a practice, the annual gathering of different ethnic groups of Manipur and the joint merry-making known as Mera Hou Chongba is hosted by the king of Manipur on the 15th day of Manipuri calendar month Mera.

Addressing the gathering at Hapta Kangjeibung today, Leishemba Sanajaoba said that all the indigenous people of Manipur are blood brothers and sisters.

The Mera Hou Chongba festival opened with singing of Yaikairol (prelude) at the royal palace this morning.



Participants of Mera Hou Chongba proceeding to Kangla from the Palace


Later, a colourful mosaic of people representing different tribes and communities belonging to different corners of Manipur marched towards Kangla.

The traditional ritual of Men Tongba was performed there.

Cultural dances including war dances were presented to the titular king.

This was followed by Yenning Thaba, Yupan Thaba rituals conducted by a Kabui priest in front of Kangla Uttra .

After performing the customary rituals at Kangla, the participants came back to the royal palace.

A public meeting was held at Hapta Kangjeibung and this was followed by exchange of gifts between the valley people and hill people.

Maram Khullen (Senapati district) chief K Namba, Salemphai village (Chandel district) chief Th Haokhothang Baite, Konaithong village chief VK Muthiphul, Wapaching village chief Modar Maring, Phayeng Makha Khullakpa Angom Chando, Phayeng Awang Khullakpa N Toyai, Awang Sekmai Khullakpa Yumlembam Chandra Singh, Akai Ngalung of Tongou Students' Union, Tongou village RKL president Shangreikai, Machi village chief Kodar Maring, Konaitong village chief Mithum Maring, Maram Khullen secretary Joshua Luikang, R Lamark of Maram Khullen, Holham Lhangdil of Doyang village (Chandel), Holkhomang Mate of Doyang village, Tuisenphai village (Imphal East ) chief Darshingkhup Kanaram and Laikot village (Senapati district) chief Akhup Kharam were the honoured guests of the event hosted by the king.

Leishemba Sanajaoba said that Mera Hou Chongba festival was not a festival which came into existence during the modern period.

Saying that celebration of the Mera Hou Chongba festival dated back to thousands of years, the titular king lamented that the historic festival could not be celebrated in its true spirit because of the prevailing insecure situation.

Noting that the people of Manipur have been enduring untold misery because "we are living in an illusionary world", the titular king called upon the people to wake up.

"Let's strengthen the fraternal bond amongst us", he exhorted.

A souvenir on Mera Hou Chongba was also released by the king.

In a touching show of brotherhood, the hill people and the people participating in the event exchange gifts and embraced each other.

Cultural programme of different ethnic groups were also presented in the afternoon.

The Mera Hou Chongba festival was also celebrated at Kangla under the joint aegis of the Kangla Religious Committee and the Kangla Fort Board.

The function was graced by Kangla Fort Board member MLA T Manga Vaiphei as chief guest, Kangla Fort Board secretary P Bhorot as president and Kangla Religious Committee chairman Prof Sairem Nilbir as guest of honour.

Ritual ceremonies, cultural programmes and exchange of gifts were the main features of the celebration.

Manga Vaiphei described Mera Hou Chongba as one festival where both the people of the hills and valley can celebrate jointly.

The festival symbolised the brotherhood among the hill and valley people, he noted.

P Bhorot who is also the Commissioner, Art and Culture observed that the Mera Hou Chongba festival assumed greater significance in the prevailing insecure situation where little faith is shared between one individual/group and another.

He remarked that the Mera Hou Chongba festival can be a tool to bring social harmony and unity.


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