TODAY -

Can Cheiraoba mean "I believe and trust you" ?

Rev. Fr. Paul Lelen Haokip *

A stall at the foothill of Cheiraoching on Sajibu Nongma Panba Cheiraoba 2012
A stall at the foothill of Cheiraoching on Sajibu Nongma Panba Cheiraoba 2012 :: Pix - Bunti Phurailatpam



Introduction:

Life is made up of ups and downs, good times and unfavorable occasions, contented moments and sad moments. For the Meiteis of Manipur, amongst the multi-laden yearly festivities, today (11th April 2013) is the first day of 'Sajibu Tha' '(month) which is equivalent to the month of April.

As we turn around, even with the year's scanty rainfall, there is greenery and new buds on the trees echoing the message of NEWNESS, LIFE and FRESHNESS. True, the recently celebrated 'Yaoshang' and 'Easter' were also adding color and life to both Hinduism and Christianity. Both the festivities extolled life at the highest degree. I can't fruitfully live life unless I 'believe' in myself and 'trust' the other for my well-being.

It may appear weird to see a 'new word' on Cheiraoba as "I believe and trust you".

The act of giving gifts to children, parents, in-laws and grandparents is a sign of acceptance and acknowledgement that these people count in my life, that their blessings and curses do have effect on my life. This is the stark truth.

The bounded ritual of a beautifully round-cut banana leaves on which food is offered at the gate of one's house is twofold to ward off evil spirits and to seek the guardian spirits for help and protection. We do this because we believe and trust in spirits.

To accept someone's food is to say "I believe" you have not added anything toxic in the food so I will consume it to say that "I trust" you.

The mere fact of celebrating this NEW YEAR is once again to tell the world loud and clear that "I believe in NEWNESS/CHANGE and trust me" I will prove it.

Climbing of Cheiraoching in the nearby vicinity to worship local deities is another sign of scaling heights to see the world better and announce unspoken that we can scale heights of problems to arrive at success.

On Cheiraoba day, the focus of prayer is for WELFARE for oneself, others and the world. Can we pray if we don't "believe and trust" in the Cosmic Universal Immortal God (locally called Sidaba Lainingthou Sanamahi)?

Busy Schedule ahead:

Purchase of season fruits, new dresses, cleaning of the houses, utensils and the surrounding make up the exterior preparation of the joyful celebration of 'Sajibu Cheiraoba'.

Exchange of varieties of food made from one's home with the neighbors and relatives will surely lessen the tension and friction accumulated for the past one year. This also provides a chance to see that I am not the only one in this world with problems/programs, there are other people in and around me. This awareness creates an atmosphere of sympathy and altruism. It is also a way of saying "I believe and trust you".

A hush-hush Reflection:

Will not the family members of those killed in the fake encounters miss their loved ones?
Will not the women/girls killed and gone missing in Sanaleipak not miss this beautiful celebration of New Year with the family?
Can we expect 'New Developments' or 'New Destructions' in the coming year?
As for me I see 'Peace' starting from within, not at increasing the number of security personnel or purchase of new armament nor in empty talks.

Just as we commonly bid 'bye bye' or 'farewell' to 31st December of every year, we could collectively echo 'bye bye' to bandhs, violence on women, hypocritical life and ariba punshi. Wishing you all a new life ahead. May God Bless us!


* Rev. Fr. Paul Lelen Haokip wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao
The writer is a Priest and M.A. Sociology, M.A. Public Administration, B.Ed. Chief Editor of KCLC Tidings Magazine and can be contacted at paulhowkeep(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)in
This article was posted on April 11, 2013.



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