Lai-Haraoba is a popular festival of Manipur, which is associated with the worship of traditional deities and ancestors. Among them, the most famous is Thangjing, the ruling deity of Moirang. The festival is celebrated in his honour during the month of April/May and attracts huge gatherings.
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- Sanamahism’s traditional deities, the Umang Lai, are honoured in the Meetei ceremony known as Lai Haraoba.
- “Lai Haraoba” is translated into Meetei as “Merry-making of the Gods.”
- Except for specific things or songs, such as ikouba, ikourol, and yakairol at the beginning and mikon thagonba, ngaprum tanba at the end, the celebration ceremonies are the same as in past years.
- During the plays, there are a variety of techniques to Lai Haraoba narrate and enact the history of Panthoibi and Nongpok Ningthou (traditional costumes).
- Manipur’s people meet every year to honour and pay reverence to the ancient gods and ancestors who helped shape the state. It is known as “Festivity for Gods.”
- Sanamahi, Pkhangba, Nongpok Ningthou, Leimarel, and around 364 Umang Lais, or jungle deities, are honoured.
- This celebration honours God’s hand in both, the creation of the universe and the progress we’ve achieved over time by observing plant, animal, and human evolution.
Why is the Lai Haraoba Festival important?
- Guru Sidaba was the highest Lord, according to legend, who lived in a dark emptiness that was once lighted and gave him the command to build the world, according to the scriptures.
- As a result, the mission’s goal is to ensure that never forget the universe’s beginnings.
- According to some versions, the celebrations may have begun in Koubru Ching.
- The Lai Haraoba festival is celebrated as a rite of passage by the Meiteis, still prominent today.
- It’s a sacramental recounting of the creation story.
- It encompasses Manipur’s entire culture and the profound bonds between the hill and lowland people, including spiritual recitations, indigenous music, dance, traditional social rituals, and previous civilisations’ remnants.
- A well-known folk song is frequently performed as part of the annual Lai Haroba festival.
- Lai Haraoba Ishei is the artist who performs the song. The lyrics of this song contain references to erotic occultism.
- The song’s most distinguishing feature is its repetitive melody.
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Activities at the Lai Haraoba Festival
- April and May are the months when the Lai Haraoba celebration takes place, and it is usually regarded as a commemoration of God’s creation of the universe.
- For the inhabitants of Manipur, this is a major traditional event that includes a wide variety of activities.
- Every year during this festival, the area’s people take part in traditional dances and bow to their ancestral gods and goddesses, hoping to receive their wishes and wishes granted by the gods and goddesses of the land.
- The event includes a spectacular and historical dance and song performed by the youth and the elderly.
- Additionally, they routinely perform events in which participants experience the lives of Khamba and Thoibi, the characters of the Manipuri folktale.
- The deity is rolled around the community in a palanquin in the evening, where people can approach them for blessings.
Lai Haraoba Dance
- An important form of performing arts of Manipur is Khamba -Thoibi.
- It is a duet performance by male and female dancers.
- This dance along with the Maibi (priestess) and other dances form the Lai Haraoba dance.
Read more on List of Dance Forms in India, from the linked article.
Key facts about the Lai Haraoba Festival
- Its origins are back to prehistoric times, probably even before written history began.
- It has its roots in the pre-Vaishnavite period of Manipur.
- The earliest form of dance in Manipur is Lai Haraoba, which serves as the foundation for all other dance forms in the state.
- Lai Haraoba is a traditional event in the state that is still observed.
- “The gods’ celebration” is the literal translation of Lai Haraoba.
- The principal performers are the priests and priestesses who lead the procession, known as maibas and maibis.
- The love story of Krishna and Radha is at the heart of the production, which is a dance drama. Other topics, however, are included.
- Similarly, Manipur’s dances show a fusion of Indian and southern cultures, reflected in the state’s culture.
- Manipur is generally regarded as one of the most beautiful places globally, with spectacular natural beauty and many tourist attractions, thanks to its rich history and different ethnicities.
- The state is known for its festivals, and thus, there isn’t a month that goes by without one.
- Throughout the state, various festivals are held to promote kindness and harmony among friends, family, and neighbours. One of them is the Lai Haraoba event.
- A large part of it is done to keep their rituals and culture alive in the modern world.
Frequently Asked Questions About Lai Haraoba Festival
What is the main festival of Manipur?
Yaoshang is regarded as one of Manipur’s most significant celebrations, and people from many communities come together to participate in the festivities. The celebration, which lasts five days and is held on the full moon day of the month of Lamta (February-March), is usually held at the same time as Holi.
What is the harvest festival of Manipur?
Chavang Kut is a post-harvest festival celebrated by the Chin-Kuki-Mizo (CHIKIM) people, and it is one of Manipur’s most important festivals. The Chin-Kuki-Mizo community (CHIKIM) celebrates Chavang Kut, a fall harvest festival held mainly in Manipur.
Which game is an essential part of the closing ceremonies of the Lai Haraoba festival?
Mukna is an indigenous form of wrestling that pits two male opponents against one other in a battle of strength and ability. The game is a must-see at Manipur’s festive festival of deities, the Lai Haraoba festival.
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