TODAY -

Kang-he festival concludes at Maram
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, December 27 2013 : The annual post-harvest festival of Maram tribe was celebrated in the form of customary naked wrestling, Kang-he at the traditional compound of the Maram king yesterday.

Though there are various traditional festivals associated with agricultural aspects and other rituals of Maram, Kang-he is considered as the mother of all these festivals in terms of significance and participation of village locals young and old, said a press release.

The festival is generally celebrated either in the last week of December or first week of January on the basis of Maram agricultural calendar (lunar calendar) .

Sports items such as long-jump and shot-put and most importantly traditional naked wrestling are the main features of Kang-he festival.

Prior to the event, series of preparatory rituals are observed, said the press release and added that the most significant is Malem wherein villagers wait for the arrival of sun at its traditional resting place in the early morning.

Clear sky is considered as a good omen.

Village elders take young boys to village pond for bathing signifying traditional purification of all the evils of the preceding year.

Other features of Malem are symbolic admission of young boys to dormitories/Morung after certain rituals are observed, traditional extraction of fire and hunting of birds with bare hands by male members.

The captured birds are then presented to the king, the press release said and added that after returning from bathing, they go back to their respective traditional Morungs and observed M'lek where locally prepared wine is consumed only in cup-shaped banana leaves after offering symbolic offering to forefathers and supreme God.

On this day, clay utensils especially kept at a secured place inside the house throughout the year are used for cooking.

Women are not allowed to enter at the area where naked wrestling is held.

The male participants who are to take part at the wrestling also avoid physical relationship from their spouses.

The wrestling is the traditional method of testing physical strength and heroism among peer groups in the true sporting spirit of the ancestral Maram Khullen village.

No prize is given but the winners but they are recognised in the village.

Traditionally, the one who champions long-jump presents his shawl to the king.

In case of any undesirable rivalry between two opposing wrestlers or between the three Sagais and in the event of any likely misunderstanding disturbing the wrestling match, a high priest who is seated over a stone slab in the middle of the match ground adjudicates the case.

Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Francis Ngajokpa greeted Maram people on the occasion.

In his message, he expressed belief that the festival would keep alive the past heritage in the endeavour of oneness and rekindle the honesty of forefathers.


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