‘Gaan Ngai’ festival begins in Manipur
Imphal, Jan. 4 (EMN): ‘Gaan-Ngai,’ the biggest cultural and religious post harvest festival of the Zeliangrong community, began in Manipur today.
‘Gaan-Ngai,’ which marks the end of the year when the farmers have stored their food grains in the granaries, begins from the 13th day of Wakching according to a Manipuri month which falls between December and January every year. The festival is celebrated for five to seven days depending on local variations.
This time, the Kabui localities including those in and around Imphal valley wore festive look as many as 70 Kabui Leikais (localities) began to celebrate their biggest post harvest festival in their respective localities.
Two important state-level inaugural functions of the festival were organised at Keikhu village and Iboyaima Shumang Leela Shanglen both, located in Imphal East district.
Manipur’s Panchayati Raj and Rural Development minister, Yumnam Khemchand, along with MLAs Karam Shyam (Langthabal), RK Imo (Sagolband), L Rameshwor (Keirao), and Noorul Hassan (Kshetrigao) were present at Keikhu village event, while the Education minister Th Basantakumar, MLAs Kh Joykishan (Thangmeiband) and Th Arunkumar (Wangkhei) were present at Iboyaima Shumang Leela Shanglen event.
Gaan Ngai is a festival during which those who died in the previous year were given a ritual farewell or departure; their graves are beautified, dances are performed in their honor, feast is given to the community in the honor of the dead. Thus, it is a festival of both the dead and living.
Scholars termed ‘Gaan Ngai’ as a great festival, a unique cultural phenomenon and a form of aesthetic expression of the community’s religion and philosophy. The festival was declared a restricted holiday in 1976. But it was upgraded to public holiday since January 10, 1998, by the then chief minister of Manipur, Wahengbam Nipamacha Singh. The government of India also recognised it as a tourist festival of the country as well.
Meanwhile, Manipur Governor, La Ganesan, Chief Minister, N Biren Singh, and others have greeted the people on the occasion of Gaan-Ngai.
In a message, the Governor said, “I convey my greetings and best wishes to the people of Manipur, particularly our Zeliangrong brethren on the joyous and auspicious occasion of Gaan Ngai, 2023.”