Chaakan Gaan-Ngai : Festivals among the Zeliangrongs
- Part 3 -

Dr. Heera Marangmei *

Gaan Ngai Celebrations around Imphal :: 2011
Gaan Ngai Celebrations around Imphal 2011 :: Dr. Heera Marangmei


Tuna Gaan Ngai is the 3rd day festival of Chakan Gaan-Ngai, which is the festival for Girls and Boys of Kahngchu and Luchu. On this day, LaamLeng is organized by male and female folk members of the Kangchu and Luchu to the rostered families as scheduled by the Khangchu as per age seniority.

For Laam-Leng, event numbers of boys and girls are selected by the Khangbon and Gaanpi Gandai (i.e. two boys' families and two girls' families are short listed for the Laam-Leng,it is prohibited to select odd number) This Laam-Leng is a traditional dance programme to raise fund for the Khangchu. It is a customary to inaugurate the first Dance at Khangchu which is called Khangchu Kadimei and preceded to short listed family that Laam-Leng is to be performed.

And on completion of Laam Leng at the individual house, A Hoi is heralded and offer wine to Haipou Ragwang, Supreme God with the Traditional Rituals and prayer. The family donates money as we called Lam Shuan and offer some comestible like local Chutney, boiled cabbage, tea etc. After Lam-Leng is completed, last conclusion dance is performed at Luchu, this is called Luchu Kadimei. After Laam-Leng is completed, Hoitan, a long Hoi is heralded from Luchu to Khangchu.

Laam-Leng is not organized if there is honorary Dance for the Departed soul (Thei Kadimei) or Promotional Dance for Senior Male of Khangchu (Khangbon Kadimei) on the third day of Gaan-Ngai or on Tuna GaanNgai day. In case of coincidence of Khangbon Kadimei and Thei Kadimei falls together on the same day. Khangbon Kadimei shall be organized first and followed by Thei Kadimei.

In other words, Honorary Dance shall be organized for the living person of Khangbon Kadimei and followed by Honorary Dance for the Departed Soul, Thei Kadimei by the Male and female of Khangchu and Luchu. It is prohibited to carry forward to next day either for Khangbon Kadimei or Thei Kadimei. It has to be concluded on the same day in what so ever it is. If there is more than one Honorary Dance for the Khangbon Kadimei or Thei Kadimei.

The first such Dance shall begin from the seniority of age among Khangbon Kadimei and followed by the next junior or among Thei Kadimei, the same seniority is observed as Khangbon Kadimei. Honorary Dance for the Khangbon Kadimei is organized only on the request of the Family of Khangbon to the Head of Khangchu since by the end of Gaan-Ngai, he will be promoted to Gaan Chang and will work under Pei Kai (Village Authority of Custom). Same formality of seniority is observed for Thei Kadimei.

Thei Kadimei is the last communion of living and death. It is a common belief of Zeliangrong Community that the departed soul, after the previous Gaan-Ngai, does not leave the family till coming of Next Gaan-Ngai.On this day, Living and Death shares the last festivity together. The grave is kept clean and beautified on this day and tradition dishes, drinks, fruits, sweet meats are offered to the departed soul and incense sticks and candles are lighted around the grave where homage and tribute is offered.

In the afternoon hour, all the members of Khangchu and Luchu present the memorable dances and traditional customary farewell songs to the departed soul. Hence this is known as the last celebration of Living and Death. In every cultural Dance, the entire Dance troop put on his or her customary attires or costumes which look more gorgeous and unique.

When Singing of Cultural songs and Dances are ended.Traditiona Hoi is heralded. Traditional comestibles like vegetable boil, chutney, Rice Beer, wine etc are offered to Haipou Ragwang with traditional rituals by Khullakpu or Khunpu or Bhanja of Pei Authority. These comestibles are shared with the people present irrespective with dance troop, singers and the audience.

Concluding dances and heralding of Hoi are performed at Khangchu and Luchu before dispersing the dance troop. On this day, all the Pei members and elder women (Kengjapui) perform a fun like activity called Keku in Khangchu,Luchu and Peikai . Either one of the male or female members pretended to be a dead person, others members perform the death rituals.

All of a sudden, the dead person rises up from the bed and asks why everyone is crying. He said he was not dead but has gone to the House of Haipou Ragwang for His blessing for the people of the village.Keku is performed by few Kabui (Zeliangrong Villages like Chini Kon, Keishamthong etc.). The elder people collect meats and vegetables from the Khangchu and have feast.


The Fourth day of Chakaan Gaan-Ngai is known as Longkumei or Longruimei (Hill Trekking) or Ngaiba (second last day of Festival).Longkumei or Longruimei means Trekking in the Hill or Mountain top. Hill Trekking is performed by boys, girls and senior members of Khangchu and Luchu in a nearby hill or mountain.

On top of the Hill or Mountain Top, they look down to their Village and praise the Scenic beauty of the Nature. On this day, they select Phaakgwang (Kings) from the boys group and Queens from the Girls of the year, presuming that they are going to get marry. The Kings and Queens are adorned with Paknui (Specific type of grass) as headgears and other members also wear the headgears.

They display their talents like drum beating, singing folk songs, those who were the killers of enemies, show their war dance, and killer animals like tigers,bears,python wild boar show their mighty dance. Such Dances of might and Victory are known as Kabaomei. On completion such care free and joyful activities, Gakting Tam (a traditional chutney made of boiled pork pounded with ginger, onion, chlli, garlic, salts and dried and fermented fish (Ngali) and made into small round balls), wine and other comestible are shared among the members present there.

Before they leave the Hill or Mountain Top, Traditional Hoitan is heralded and there after proceeded to the village. In the evening both the Khangchu and Luchu members present a programme to the designated Two Kings and Two Queens whom they have selected. This Dance is known as Phagwang Laam. It was commonly said in the ancient time that boys and girls who were graced the Phagwang Laam in their honour were considered to be matured enough to tie the love knot.

See a Photo Gallery here

To be continued ....

* Dr. Heera Marangmei wrote this article for
The writer can be contacted at heera4016(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on January 15, 2013

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