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Gaan Ngai Fest Kick Starts Amid Fanfare

A cultural dance number presented on the opening function of Kabui traditional Gaan Ngai festival at Imphal. Image Credit: Sangai Photo.

IMPHAL, Jan 18: The Gaan Ngai celebration, the biggest post-harvest festival of the Zeliangrong community, has begun from today with traditional fervor and gaiety.

The Zeliangrong community settling in Manipur as well as in other parts began celebration of Gaan Ngai, which would go on for five days, on the 13th day of Wakching every year (in accordance to  Manipuri lunar calendar).

Apart from thanksgiving to Tingkao Ragwang, the Almighty God for a good harvest and prayer for a successful and long life in the coming year, traditional rites and rituals like Ree-Chiang/Gu Chiang Phaikhang (throwing of Ginger to ward off evil spirit), Gokpai Jaokhang (prediction of fortune of the year by studying the spleen of an adult pig sacrificed for the purpose), Joupam Keikhang (offering oblation with home brewed wine and Mailap Khang ( making of sacred fire from rubbing bamboo pieces/twigs), etc would be witnessed over the next five days of celebration.

Zeliangrong Union and Zeliangrong Youth Front, Imphal Zone jointly celebrated Gaan Ngai under the theme of ‘˜Preservation of Indigenous Traditional Festival of Zeliangrong’ at Zeliangrong Building located at Paona Bazar here. Explaining the essence of Gaan Ngai at the occasion, former Union Minister Prof Meijinglung Kamsom said that Gaan Ngai is an important festival of Zeliangrong community. The festival is celebrated every year at the end of harvesting and lot of changes has taken place in the mode of celebration of the festival along with passage of time. Stating that every community has their own unique culture and tradition and Gaan Ngai festival is one such cultural element of Zeliangrong community, Prof Kamsom appealed to all for ensuring promotion of the festival. He exhorted that every Zeliangrong people irrespective of their religious affiliation should be proud of their culture and tradition. After all, the Creator is one and same, he added. Speaking at the occasion, president of Zeliangrong Union (Assam, Manipur & Nagaland) Amu Kamei observed that unity and integrity of Manipur have already been protected by our forefathers through preservation and promotion of respective culture and tradition of the various indigenous groups of people settling here since time immemorial.

But today, lack of unity among these groups has become the biggest problem in Manipur. Among the root causes of lack of unity, the policy of the Govt of India to divide the people into various categories like schedule tribe, schedule caste and general  has discouraged the people to imbibe the spirit of oneness. He went on to observe that Manipuri language is an important unifying factor among the people. So, being the major community, Meiteis should play major role in bringing unity in Manipur and representatives of every community should be included in any State level organization.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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