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Five-day Yaoshang festival begins in Manipur

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By EMN Updated: Mar 06, 2015 9:53 pm
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IMPHAL, March 6

The five-day long Holi, locally known as Yaoshang, kicked off today with religious fervour, merrymaking and widespread sports and entertainment activities across strife-torn Manipur.
Yaoshang festival is celebrated for five days and commences from the full moon day of Lamta (February/March), the last month of Meitei lunar calendar. Main highlight of the festival is the Thabal Chongba dance. Thabal Chongba is a Manipuri folk dance where boys and girls form a circle and hold hands and sing and dance.On the first day of the festival, since morning teams of young children, led by prominent sports personalities, converged at the sacred Kangla fort to light their torches from the sacred fire of a temple inside the fort and moved to the local sports complex. Traffic jams were witnessed for the whole day Thursday on the roads leading to the main entrance gates of the fort after teams continued to converge to light their torches.
While the evening, Manipuri Vaishnavites burnt the traditional Yaoshang (a small thatch hut) before prayers by local priests. The event was followed by ‘Nakatheng’ – an age-old tradition of house-to-house donation campaign by small children.
The primary idea to organize Yaoshang sports festival is to stop the energetic youth from indulging in drugs and to encourage sports in the state, said a key Yaoshang organiser in Imphal East at Kangla fort where he accompanied a group of children and local sportspersons coming to lit the torch with secret fire from the Kangla.
“Like other local clubs and NGOs, we have been organising Yaoshang sports festival in our locality for the last few years and hosts of first-rate athletes have made this movement their launching pads,” he said.
Vaishnavite elders sang devotional songs and danced at Shree Shree Govindajee temple at the historic palace compound and some select houses and worship places during Yaoshang. In the night, young boys and girls enjoyed Thabal Chongba – a typical Manipuri folk dance.
Besides Manipur Governor Dr KK Paul and chief minister O Ibobi, many have extended heartiest greetings to the people of the state on the joyous occasion.
The Governor, in his message, said that festival which was celebrated with the onset of spring was a celebration symbolising the rejuvenation of the very spirit of life and the young and the old alike take part in this festival of colours.
The Governor further underlined the entry of sports as an important item during the celebration of the festival saying that it was a healthy development that has come about in Yaoshang.
He hoped that the celebration of the festival in its true spirit with the participation of all communities will resolve to make Manipur a better and peaceful state where mutual respect and love prevail among all communities. The chief minister, in his message said that Yaoshang, one of the biggest festivals of Manipur, was a festival of joy and reconciliation which everybody, old and young, enjoy with gaiety and enthusiasm.
Yaoshang emphasises the message of love and the spirit of harmony and friendship amongst the different communities of the state, the chief minister said while wishing that the festival brings peace, prosperity and happiness in the state and strengthen the social fabric further.
State deputy chief minister Gaikhangam, Speaker of Manipur Legislative Assembly Th Lokeshwar state MP Dr T Meinya, CPI Manipur State Council secretary Dr M Nara, CPI (M-L) Manipur State Committee secretary AS Singh and IGAR (S) Maj Gen Rajeev Chopra and all ranks of Assam Rifles have extended warm greetings and sincere goodwill to the people of the state on the occasion.

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By EMN Updated: Mar 06, 2015 9:53:22 pm