Gaan Ngai festival, the biggest annual post-harvest festival of Zeliangrong tribes began at various Zeliangrong dominated areas in Manipur on Sunday.
The formal inauguration of the five-day Gaan Ngai festival, heralding the close of the old year and arrival of the New Year, was marked by congregational prayers and colourful dance at Reangzang (Ngarian) village under Henglep constituency in Manipur’s Churachandpur district.
Making of holy fire for purification of the entire community and colourful dance sequence by various dance groups representing the numerous Zeliangrong communities marked the beginning of the festival.
Chairman T Thangzalam Haokip of the Hill Areas Committee who is also the MLA of Henglep constituency was the chief guest of the inaugural function. Chief Pouchalung Kamei of Ngarian, Chief Ph Chingkhudunpou of Chinikom, religious leader Makukonpou Kamei along with Vice Chairperson Adim Pamei of state disaster management authority, Presidet Athuan Abonmei of Zeliangrong Baudi, Assam, Nagaland and Manipur and Chairman Asinpou Gangmei of United Naga Council’s Committee for Alternative Arrangement attended the colourful inaugural function with much enthusiasm.
In his speech chief guest of the inaugural function Thangzalam Haokip conveyed his warm wishes to Zelaingrong people to bring peace and harmony. He also thanked for the opportunity given to him to participate in the festival for the first time.
Vice Chairperson Adim Pamei said the idea of the festival is to create sacred fire to defend from the evil spirits and it is being celebrated all over the Zeliangrong areas with joy and fun.
In fact the festival began by lighting up the festival torch with the sacred fire produced in traditional way, ho-hoining and offering of holy wine to God and deities. It is celebrated when the granaries are full and the villagers are free from agricultural works.
The organisers also thanked the supreme lord Tingkao Raguang and worshipped him for his kindness and celebrated the occasion with dance and music. Honouring the departed souls of community is the uniqueness of Gaan-Ngai. Besides cultural extravaganza and sports are the inseparable parts of Gaan-Ngai. The winners are offered with local brew with meat.
Manipur Governor Dr Najma A Heptulla and Chief Minister N Biren Singh wished the people of Manipur, particularly the Zeliangrongs, on the joyous and auspicious occasion of Gaan Ngai. “It is a religious occasion but it also showcases the rich cultural heritage of the Zeliangrong community,” Governor said in her message to people. “Let us ring in a new year full of hope and aspiration with Gaan Ngai showering peace and harmony to one and all in the state,” she added.