The Manipur version of Holi called Yaoshang, the greatest festival of the north-eastern border state was formally started on Thursday.
The five-day long celebration began with the burning of ‘yaoshang’ which is constructed with bamboo and straws at every locality from Thursday. The festival will conclude on March 25.
The Khwairamband Keithel, the main market in Imphal was jam packed throughout the day particularly in morning and afternoon as the people went for last minute shopping for the festival.
The festival which marks the rejuvenation of the spirit of life and is celebrated with gaiety and enthusiasm commemorates the birthday of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
The festival normally begins on full moon day of the Meitei Lunar month of Lamta (February-March) and is celebrated for five days. The highlight of the festivities, celebrated mostly in the valley area by the Meiteis, is collection of donations from households by pre-puberty young boys and girls dressed in their best attires, playing with colours and water.
Children visiting my house for ‘Nakatheng’, a generous contribution by the elders to the children for enjoyment of the festival. A beautiful custom & I enjoy this moment when children accept Contributions with smiling face. Happy Holi ? pic.twitter.com/ZhsgxonWsU
— Chowkidar Nongthon Biren (@NBirenSingh) March 21, 2019
The main highlight of the festival includes the Thabal Chongba, a traditional Manipuri folk dance where boys and girls hold hands, sing and dance in a circle.
A festive mood has filled the air in the State capital on Thursday. On the first day of the festival on Thursday, the members of local clubs in Imphal thronged the historic Kangla Fort to collect the sacred fire for their torch rallies as part of the opening of sports activities.
The media houses in Imphal have announced a five day holiday for the festival till March 25. As a result no daily newspapers will hit the stand till March 26.
The journalists’ community under the banner of All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union began the ninth edition of the five days annual sports meet since Wednesday to make the journalist fraternity remain mentally, physically and morally active.
Manipur Governor Dr Najma Heptulla, chief minister Nongthombam Biren Singh, Manipur Legislative Assembly Speaker Y Khemchand in their separate messages conveyed heartiest greetings to the people of Manipur on the occasion of Yaoshang festival.