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Biggest Manipur festival: Sangai

Utkarsh Classes Last Updated 23-01-2024
Biggest Manipur festival: Sangai Art and Culture 6 min read

Sangai Festival is an annual cultural festival organized by the Manipur Tourism Department from 21st to 30th November every year which was held last year in the Bishnupur district of Manipur. The upcoming 12th Sangai Festival will be organized from 21 - 30 November 2023. Starting in 2010, the festival will be held at 13 places in six districts of Manipur.

  • The festival is called Sangai Festival to highlight the uniqueness of the shy and gentle deer popularly known as the Sangai in the region. It is a rare species of deer, also the state animal of Manipur.

  • The theme of the Sangai Festival 2022 is:‘Festival of Oneness’.

  • The indigenous sagol kangjei, a sport that has now evolved into the modern polo game, will also be featured during the festival in its very own birthplace. The Men’s International Polo Tournament will be held in Imphal and the CM’s Sagol Kangjei Tournament in Kangla as part of the festival.

Other major festivals of Manipur:

  • Gang-Ngai, celebrated for five days in the month of December/January, Gang-Ngai is an important festival of the Kabui Nagas. 

  • Lui-Ngai-Ni, It is a collective festival of the Nagas observed on the 15th day of February every year. This is a seed-sowing festival after which tribes belonging to the Naga group begin their cultivation. 

  •  Yaosang, celebrated for five days commencing from the full moon day of Phalguna (February/March), Yaoshang is the premier festival of Manipur. The Thabal Chongba – a kind of Manipuri fold dance, where boys and girls hold hands together and sing and dance in a circle, is mainly associated with this festival. Yaoshang to Manipur is what Durga Puja is to Bengal, Diwali in north India and Bihu to Assam.

  • Cheiraoba: The Manipuri New Year, It is celebrated during the month of April. Villagers climb the nearest hilltops in belief that it will enable them to rise to greater heights in their worldly life.

  • Kang: The Ratha Yatra of Manipur, One of the greatest festivals of the Hindus of Manipur, this festival is celebrated for ten days in the month of July. Lord Jagannath leaves his temple in a car known as “Kang” in Manipur pulled by devotees who vie with one another for this honour.

  • Heikru Hitongba, Celebrated in the month of September, Heikru Hitongba is a boat race. Long narrow boats are used to accommodate a large number of rowers. An idol of Lord Vishnu is installed before the commencement of the race.

  • Ningol Chak-kouba: A social festival of the Manipuris, It is a remarkable social festival of the Meiteis. Married daughters of the family come to their parental house along with their children and enjoy a sumptuous feast. It is celebrated on the second day of the new moon in the month of Hiyangei (November) as per the Manipur Calendar system.

  • Kut: Festival of Kuki- Chin- Mizo, It is an autumn festival of the different tribes of Kuki-Chin-Mizo groups of Manipur. It is a happy occasion for the villagers whose food stock is bountiful after a year of hard labour. It is observed on the 1st of November every year.

  • Chumpha: Festival of Tangkhul Nagas, Celebrated for seven days in the month of December, the Chumpha Festival is a great festival of the Tangkhul Nagas. The festival is held after harvest. 

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