The people of Manipur celebrated Ningol Chakouba, the greatest festivals of the State, on Wednesday.
The festival is a special day for married women in Manipuri society.
From early morning, married sisters and daughters visit their parental homes in their finest attire and with assorted goodies.
In return, they also get gifts from their parents and brothers.
Ningol Chakouba is celebrated on the second day of the lunar month of Hiyanggei (October-November) to renew and strengthen familial bonds. ‘Ningol’ means married or unmarried daughters and ‘Chakkouba’ means invitation for a lunch in the mother’s house.
Thus the festival is a special day for the married daughters in Manipur.
On this day, a grand feast of various cuisines is prepared in honour of the daughter at her ‘mapam’ (parental place).
The main menu of most families included different forms of fish curry.
The busy Khwairamband Keithel, the main market in Imphal and all riads leads to the state capital, wore a deserted look during the day as most people joined their families for the festival.
However, all roads witnessed traffic congestion when the married sisters and daughters return home in the evening.
Manipur Governor Dr Najma Heptulla, chief minister N Biren Singh, Manipur state Legislative Assembly Speaker Yumnam Khemchand and some ministers including the inspector general of Assam Rifles (South) also separately greeted the people of Manipur on the occasion of Ningol Chakkouba by sending out messages.
In her message, Dr Heptulla said that Ningol Chakkouba is a unique festival of the Meitei community, which is observed every year on the second day of Hiyangei (October-November).
She then urged all to celebrate the festival in its true form and spirit.
Wishing the people of Manipur, especially the married women, Rajya Sabha M P K Bhabananda Singh also prayed that the festival may bring peace, progress and prosperity to all the people of Manipur.
Lok Sabha MP Dr Lorho S Pfoze also greeted all the womenfolk of Manipur on the occasion.
May this occasion not only rejuvenate family ties but also kindle the spirit of brotherhood to bring peace, prosperity and peaceful co-existence in the State, MP wished.