The seed sowing festival of the Nagas of Manipur popularly known as Lui-Ngai-Ni was celebrated under the theme ‘One culture one goal’ at the common ground of Noney town, 65 km west of Imphal on Thursday.
Public Health Engineering minister L Dikho and President Gaidon Kamei of United Naga Council (UNC) was the chief guest and functional president respectively, while MLAs Samuel Jendai and Leishiyo Keishing were the guests of honour.
In his speech, Minister Dikho appealed to the people to extend love to ‘our neighbours and different communities in the State’ while celebrating the festival.
UNC president Gaidon Kamei said the festival will renew the sowing of the seeds of fraternity and love within Naga community and of mutual respect with their neighbours.
MLAs Samuel Jendai of Tamenglong, Leishiyo Keishing of Phungyar, Alfred Kanngam Arthur of Ukhrul also spoke on the occasion which was celebrated when the winter is slowly fading and the seasonal birds start chirping merrily heralding advent of spring.
The Lui-Ngai-Ni festival assumes much significance among the people of the North-east as it appeals for peaceful co-existence and at the same time spreads the message of ‘live and let live’ cutting across the barriers of caste, creed and religion.
It is a cultural festival and is marked by a plethora of cultural displays and events.
The main highlights of the Lui-Ngai-Ni celebrations are lighting of the sacred fire, blessing of the seeds to be sown for the season, traditional log drum beating, traditional folk dances and songs and traditional fire-making.
Former MLAs Ngunglung Victor, BD Behring, president of Naga People’s Organization and Chandel Naga People’s Organization and leaders of all the tribal bodies, functionaries of UNC, and representatives of students’ bodies also attended the festival.
The celebration of the festival dates back to 1987 and since then the festival is celebrated across the State every year with traditional fervour.
Earlier state Governor Dr Najma Heptulla and Chief Minister N Biren Singh and others greeted the people of the State, specially the Naga brethren, on the auspicious occasion of Lui Ngai Ni festival.