By Waikhom Chitradhani
Imphal ( Manipur) , April 13 : Manipur celebrated “Sajibu Nongma Panba Cheiraoba” today, the new year’s day for the Meiteis. It is celebrated on the first day of the month of “Sajibu” in the meitei lunar calender.
A grand feast with the different indigenous cuisines is an essential part of the celebration. Before the lunch, all the dishes that are being prepared is put in a banana leaf and offered to the Gods at the gate of every meitei household to ward of the omens that may target the family in the coming year.
In the morning, fresh produce of the season are offered to Lord “Sanamahi”, the deity worshipped in every meitei household.
Another important ritual of the festival is to climb the nearest hill along with family members or friends in the afternoon. It signifies more heights and prosper in life. Prayers are also offered atop the hill.
At night,Thabal chongba (dancing under the moonlight), a popular form of dance amongst the youth is held in the localities. Also, Sumang Leela (courtyard play), Musical Nights etc are organised.
Another important aspect of the festival is the women folk giving gifts to their brothers and parents in advance. Traditional handloom products are often gifted. The women also blessed the brothers and their parents for a prosperous year ahead.
But due to the prevailing situations induced by COVID-19, the festival has been scaled down this year. Meanwhile, The Manipur Government has urged the public to maintain SOPs while celebrating Cheiraoba.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind, Manipur Governor Najima Heptula, Chief Minister N.Biren Singh, amongst others greeted the people of the state on the occasion of Sajibu Cheiraoba.