Chaakan Gaan-Ngai : Festivals among the Zeliangrongs
- Part 4 -
Dr. Heera Marangmei *
Gaan Ngai Celebrations around Imphal 2011 :: Dr. Heera Marangmei
NAP CHANMEI ( FIFTH AND LAST DAY OF THE FESTIVAL) :-
The Fifth and last day of Gan-Ngai Festival is known as Nap Chanmei. The concluding evening day of the festival is related with ancestral religion of prayer to Kambuipui, the goddess of wealth, Charaipui, Ganglaongampui by offering pig or fowl liver.
The main objective of this prayer is to call back the wealth which has been wasted during festival and for the prosperous of coming year. In the morning of this day, a bamboo with internode is distributed called Khupot and hung at the threshold of every family of the village. This cut piece of bamboo node is plug with cotton after a wine pour into it.
The significance part of this performance, as believed by the community, is to prevent the people from outbreak of any epidemic diseases. The bamboo node, as belief being collected the epidemic disease, is thrown way out side the village gate on the next day by the Pei member. In the evening when the delicious food, meat curry, other items are prepared in the both male and female dormitories (Khangchu and Luchu) for their members.
Just before the feast, all the members of Khangchu with the invocation of God by HoHoi and followed by offering the freshly cooked food, curry and wine to the God by one of the Pei members. Delicious dishes are delivered to all the household members of Khangchu and Luchu by both the male and female dormitories. Special invitations are made to all the Pei members, Khangchu Pou -Pei, Luchu Pou-Pie and senior members of Khangchu for the feast together at Khangchu and for female at the Luchu.
Napshin Ganshin Laomei: =
After the feast is over, male youths gather which is headed by Senior member, mockery and praising songs are sung for the in-charge of the food, curry, wine etc. during the festivity at the courtyard of the Khangchu. The significance of this mockery activity is to forgive and forget any mistake that may have happened by the members during the festivity and praising songs for Khangchupuo-pei are also sung (Kaihut Luh) for more prosperous in the coming years.
Some mockery songs are sung by the male members in praise of Khangchupuo-pei and proceed towards Female Dormitory (Luchu) by sing songs of Luchu Kailong Lonluh for the Folk songs competition between boys and girls. During this day, boys and girls learn the folk songs like Lamlonluh and Mazaluh.
After the traditional folk songs competition is over, boys return to Khangchu heralding a Rihlai Hoi. On this night, Pajeimei (it is a dance where a sequence of boys and girls are sitting alternately in line, with the rhythm of the songs and drum bit, each one swing the clothe to and fro) and Kailong ronmei (Guarding the Village) can also performed. Pajeimei dance may be organized in any suitable day of the festival.
RAANG PATMEI (THE SIXTH DAY):=
The literally aspect of Raang Patmei means coming out at the northern gate of the Village (Raang means northern village gate, Patmei means coming out).It is also known as Keirong Raren Roumei. Raang Patmei may be considered as the part of the Festival. Truly it is an important day of traditional rituals performed to the pantheons of gods and spirits by the village priest not to harm the village people. Every household member contribute a cock, a fine ginger and banana leaves to be offered to the pantheon of gods on the prayer ceremony of Raren Roumei.
This cock meat is not allowed to consumed by the members of Khangchu, Luchu, Mathenmei, Gaanchang and Chaangroi, but it can be eaten by the Pei members like Banjas, aged women and young kid who are yet to be members of Khanchu and Luchu only. The prayers and offerings are made to gods in their orderly status are:
1) Ragwang offering with Fine ginger , complete white or red feather cock, funnel shaped made out of banana leaf with additional cut pieces as crown and fine wine is poured into the funnel (which is locally known as Luiduk khou sanaton tonpani)
(2) Buichanu (Bisnu) offering is made as same as Ragwang
(3) Kara-Ngong offers with cock and wine into the banana funnel (no sanaton ),
(4) Napshinmei-offers with white cock and wine into the banana funnel,
(5) Chon-chai- offers a cock with either wine or water into the funnel.
(6) Charakilongmei -offers with a cock and either wine or water into the funnel,
(7) Koklou- offers with a cock and wine into the funnel,
(8) Yangkoi gwang- offers with a white cock and water into the funnel,
(9) Tingthonngampu- offers with a white cock and water into the funnel,
(10) Koklounei- offers with a cock and either wine or water into the funnel,
(11) Langmaiching- offers with a white cock and wine into the funnel,
(12) Langkon Gwang- offers with a white cock and wine into funnel,
(13) Nungcheng Pukhri- offers with a white cock and wine into the funnel,
(14) Taoling (Bambu)- offers with a cock and wine into the funnel,
(15) Joungou (Mahabali )- offers with a cock and wine into the funnel.
(16) Zerenglu (Konthoucham Lairemma) - offers with a cock and wine or water into the funnel.
(17) Pukhri Dai- offers with a cock and wine into the funnel,
(18) Makushithok-offers with cock and wine into funnel,
(19) Dimei- offers with a cock and wine into the funnel and
(20) Pa-ra offers with an egg and wine into the funnel made opposite side of the leaf and throw it to break the egg. (This Raren Roumei is based on the practice of Kakhulong).
After the distribution of cock meat to Children, Pei members and aged women, the priest declares goodness of the village in the name of Ragwang, the children respond to it. On this day a strict gennas (Neimei) is imposed to the village people not to venture out in the fields and jungle or whole night journey etc. for fear of any untoward happenings until gennas have been revoked as cleaned by the Pei Member of the Village. As per traditional belief, good and evil spirits are also present in the village during the festival; whoever encounters such spirits may fall sick; as for such reason a traditional ritual is performed at the northern gate of the village on sixth day of Gaan Ngai.
The senior pei member will declare the revocation of genna to the village. On this day Raangpat Tamcha (an offering contributed by the Banjas) is contributed by the Banjas. The offering consists of some sweet meat or eatable, salt cakes (Local name Tei-kok) and a bottle of wine, which are later distributed among them except for the Gaanchang. After this distribution, Khangchu and Luchu will distribute a token appreciation and thanks to members of the Pei Members, which is known and Raangpat Puan.
After sometime the Pei member will announce to the family member of the community to collect the holy wine, known as Marujou. Each member of the family will either sip or wipe on their jaws as a sign of acceptance. Only on this day, replacement or filling up of the vacant post of Senior Pei Members like Khunpu (Village Head) or Khullakpu (Head of the Pei Authority), which are vacant prior to Gaan Ngai Festival, are selected unanimously by the Pei Authority.
The senior most Banja will declare the appointment of person in the name of Ragwang by raising the iron hoe at village gate. Here one should know such filling up of vacant post by the pei members must have wife. Any person who has lost his wife shall give up before the next Gaan-Ngai or shall not be appointed as Khunpu or Khullakpu. Similarly, upgradation of senior most Khangbon of Khangchu to Gaanchang, which is known as Gaanchang jaikumei (or Kengjapu jaikumei), the junior member of pei authority or Gaachang to Banja are decided as well as from married women to old women, this is known as Kengjapui jaikumei or Karapei jaikumei.
For such up gradation, a formal invitation is served to them by delivering a salt cake, which is known as Kaphaan Timei. When the ritual functions of Raang Patmei and other activities are accomplished at the village gate, the Pei members and changloi proceed to Pei Kai with a Rih rai Hoi.
There at Pei kai, a Bukaomei ritual for the Village people as a whole is performed with a big fine cock. This ritual is nothing but calling the stranded souls back home. The cock meat is cooked properly and distributed to every family of the village and is small piece is nibbled by each member of the family in acceptance of the stranded soul has come again to the individual person and for good health.
SEVENTH DAY OF THE FESTIVAL: =
There is no much cultural activity on the Seventh Day of the Festival. But Puantang Nimmei is performed in the morning at the Khangchu and Luchu. This is a formal function in which the Khangbon along with Gaanpi offer some token money to the Owner of Khangchu and Luchu as a compromise form which might have caused a loss due to breakage, missing and messy to the household items during the festival.
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* Dr. Heera Marangmei wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at heera4016(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on January 20, 2013
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