TODAY -

Gaan-Ngai, the Ritual Festival of Zeliangrong
- Part 1 -

Chaoba Kamson *

Gaan Ngai Celebrations at New Delhi :: January 30 2010
Gaan Ngai Celebrations at New Delhi :: January 30 2010 :: Pix - Anthony Gangmei



Chakaan Gaan-Ngai The Zeliangrong people specially the followers of TRC and Heraka religions celebrate Gaan-Ngai festival on the 13th day (Gaan-Ngaibu) of the Manipuri lunar month of Wakching which usually falls in January or sometimes in December. This festival is called as Chakaan Gaan-Ngai as it is celebrated in the Chakaan Season (winter season). Among the festivals, Gaan-Ngai is the greatest and longest day of celebration lasting for at least five days depending on local necessity. Maximum number of songs are sung during the festival. It is the most enthusiastic festival with pomp and show. Merry making is seen in this festival profusely. This festival is celebrated for the dead and the living. Gaan-Ngai is a festival for spreading good will, peace and prosperity.

In the Zeliangrong society, festivals have a very important place. The aesthetic form of Gaan-Ngai lies in cultural dance. The most attractive programme of this festival is dance for all the visitors and viewers. All the programmes are chalked out by the males' dormitory to celebrate the greatest festival meaningfully in a grand manner. Boys and girls dance in consonance with traditional drum beating, cymbal, gong etc.

1st Day - Starting of Festival

In the early morning on the 1st day of Gaan-Ngai festival, eggs and gingers are offered to both the presiding deities at North and South by a priest praying not to cause any kind of disturbance, bad consequences etc. during and affer the festival. On return to males' dormitory, holy wine is offered to Tingkao Ragwang and other gods for prosperity, well-being, love, unity, longevity of life in the coming year. Before every lunch and dinner sacred wine is offered to Tingkao Ragwang and other gods after shouting huai.

Heralding of Gaan-Ngai by beating drum

On return to boys dormitory, the priest will offer holy wine to Tingkao Ragwang and other gods. Next, the boys will start beating drum going around the village (Ngaikhong Baimei) signifying the commencement of Gaan-Ngai festival.

Extraction of sacred fire

Early in the morning, a fresh fire will be extracted with a dried wood and a splint of bamboo at the jumping ground. Every household will collect the fresh fire and cook for longevity of life. Easy extraction of fire is a good sign of prosperity for the year. It is believed that partaking of the food cooked with the new fire will make them healthy, wealthy and wise.

Observation of spleen and blood curry eating

A big pig is killed and examined its spleen. This is called Gakpai Jaomei in search of good sign. If there is any blemish on the spleen, it is assumed as bad and if there is nothing on it, it is treated as good sign. Then oblation of holy wine to Tingkao Ragwang and other gods for well-being and prosperity of the village is carried out. The spleen may be given to the first examiner or to the oldest man of the village or the same may be cooked with the rest of the flesh as told by the village elders. The blood curry mixed with other internal parts of the pig will be eaten at boys dormitory, after lunch the boys will dig the jumping ground where the sports of long-jump, shot-put, wrestling are to be performed in the evening.

Calling of paddy at individual family

Towards evening of the first day of the festival in the individual family, a ritual of calling of paddy (Napkaomei) offering a big cock to Tingkao Ragwang as thanksgiving for the plentiful harvest is performed chanting the relevant hymns. Then the cock's legs are observed to know the omen and followed by offering of holy wine to Tingkao Ragwang and other gods. After finishing the cooking, the cooked liver of the cock will be offered to Kambuipui, Charaipui and Ancestors who live at the hearth stones to bless for good fortune, health, richness.

Tributes paid to the departed souls (Ngaidongmei)

On this particular day the graves are beautified and decorated. Drinks and eatables are placed on it as a farewell given to all those who died in the previous year in the form of parting meals provided by the concerned families. It is believed that the departed souls do not leave the family or the village until the festival is over.

Huai procession and sports activities

An act of offering of sacred wine to Tingkao Ragwang and related gods at boys' dormitory will be performed and chutney of vegetables will be eaten. Then every member of Khangchu and village elders attiring best colourful costumes, shawls, headgear and holding spears in their hands will march up and down of the village shouting huai. After concluding the huai, the procession will move to the jumping ground shouting huai which ends there. Then either a khunbu or khunlak of the village will introduce the sports of shot-put chanting a relevant hymn. After that the boys will throw the stone for prosperity and welfare of the village.

Again the village elder will introduce the sport activity of long-jump chanting a hymn. Then the boys will participate the game. The village elder will declare the result of the sports. The winners of the sports are not given prizes instead they (winners) are required to pay fee for declaring his ability and power. At the end, a long huai at jumping ground will be shouted. Next, the people will return to the boys dormitory after sports competition shouting a short huai which ends there. Every important event of Zeliangrong by tradition starts and ends with shouting of huai. Shouting of huai is an invocation to Tingkao Ragwang, the Supreme God.

Greeting of the Gaan-Ngai Festival

The village elders along with heads of boy's dormitory (Khangbon) will visit every household greeting the members of family to enjoy in the festive mood joyously and love each other and warn them not to quarrel nor speak ill words against each other during the festival. If there is any fighting or quarreling, the village council (pei) will impose a fine upon the erring person. This is called as Shaopaak Thetmei in local dialect.

Dining togather and merry making

The boys and the girls enjoy the tasty food accompanied by merry making, singing, cutting joke etc. heartily. Performance of cultural activity like pazeimei is also carried out singing the traditional songs till late night. The youth go around the village with spears in their hands singing the village guarding songs till late night or till day breaks. This is called as kailong lonmei. They are entertained with drink, dried meat chutney or eel, tea, eatables, fruits etc. by the individual family.

2nd Day Tamchan-ngai

Next day of the festival is called Tamchan-Ngai. In the morning, all boys and girls who are admitted to boys' and girls' dormitories as members will bring Tamcha (gifts) in the form of drink, rice, dry meats, vegetables, eatables, fruits along with a jar of rice beer to their respective dormitories. Any member who died in the previous year will also contribute his/her share. Two senior most members (Gaanpi Gandai Kanei) of boys' dormitory will be given blessings by one elder of pei and so do to two heads of girls dormitory (Tunapi Kanei).

Then boys' and girls' dormitories will give some shares of gifts and one jar of wine to the house owners of both dormitories. After lunch, the boys' dormitory will go and give blessings to the above four houses shouting a short huai. The blessing is given to chutney for senior and wine for junior. The money collected from four houses will be given to the responsible person of boys' dormitory.

Blessing words (Tamsuan)

Today, we are celebrating the great festival of Gaan-Ngai, one inmate of a particular family is bringing out the chutney which is much more than the sand of Agu and Alang so the boys' dormitory is giving thankfulness in the form of seven elephants and seven disces for kind benevolence."

Blessing words (Zousuan)

"Today, we are celebrating the biggest festival of Gaan-Ngai, one particular family is bringing out the sacred wine which is much more the water of Agu and Alang rivers. So our dormitory is appreciating the family and giving thankfulness in the form of seven elephants and seven disces for benevolence."

Tamchanmei

In the evening, at the courtyard of boys' dormitory dry cooked fish soup, chutney and a jar of rice beer will be brought out and an elder of the village will offer holy wine to Tingkao Ragwang and other gods. After that the soup, tea, wine will be served to all present and followed by a dance of Tamchan laam. This dance will be performed by girls only singing the song of Tamchan luh. Then the dance troupe will proceed to (i) Peikai, (ii) Kengjapui Kaibang (iii) Gaanchang Kaibang, (iv) Napmu Kaibang (v) Mathenmei Kaibang where some quantity of wine, pieces of porks, small dried fishes (ngakha), salt cake and coin will be presented to the above institutions by boys and girls' dormitories. The remaining materials of Tamcha will be returned to their respective dormitories for longevity of life (Kamuikhang).

Reason of Tamchanmei

Boys and girls dormitories worship to the above institutions to prevent any impending diseases or ailments for the coming year as the above social institutions are treated as holy places. Tamcha is offered as scapegoat as substitute for the distructive period of boys and girls of the dormitories. In short, it is a respect to the village elders.

Hymns of Tamchan

"Au. Apou Tingkao Ragwang, this village is celebrating the great festival of Gaan-Ngai so today the boys and girls are offering gifts to
(i) Peikai
(ii) Kengjapui Kaibang
(iii) Ganchang Kaibang
(iv) Napmu Kaibang
(v) Mathenmei Kaibang.
Today onward these village dormitories be given a lasting and prosperous institution in future
".

Items
(i) Dry meat
(ii) Dry fish
(iii) Salt-cake
(iv) Holy wine

There are two kinds of coin (puan) given by boys and girls.

3rd Day Youth Festival (Tuna Gaan-Ngai)

In the morning, the two heads of boys' dormitories (Khangbons) will bring their tamcha (share/gifts) to boys' dormitory. Then, an oldman will declare in appreciation of their tamcha for bringing of huge quantity. The tamchas will be shared to the houseowners of boys' and girls' dormitories. After lunch, the members of boys' dormitory will go to the house of Khangbons shouting huai and appreciate their gifts and wish them for longevity of life. They (Khangbons) will, in turn, give some money for boys' dormitory. If they are to be promoted to the post of higher rank (Gaanchang), a farewell dance for them will be presented. It not having, a rotation dance in order to drive fund for the dormitories will be performed.

4th Day Longkumei (Hill Trekking)

Longkumei/Longruimei means hill trekking for sight seeing. The leaves of phaak are used as a means of reading omen (Phaakdaan Jaomei). It is believed that if the result is positive, the desire of boys and girls is fulfilled. If the leaves of phaak are not available, leaves of jongtou as substitutes are used as headgears. Those who know well the art of drum beating, harp and flute will perform their activities on the top of hill. Those who were the killers of enemy, tiger, bear, python, wild pig etc. show kabaomei, sing traditional songs such as romantic songs, lamenting songs and eat gaktingtam (boiled pork pounded with salt, rotten fish, ginger, chillies, onion and made into ball) with drink. Among them, two boys and two girls are chosen as kings and queens. They are described as phaakgwangs.

At the end, shouting huai is performed. They return to the village in the evening and perform phaakgwang laam to the house of two boys and two girls. The participants are entertained with eatables and drink. A last dance to khangchu and luchu will be performed. This dance is called Thenkadimei. On this day, the boy's dormitory will distribute a bamboo pipe to every household and hang the same to the front wall of the house. The objective is supposed to store the diseases of epidemic inside the pipe.

To be continued...


* Chaoba Kamson wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao and The Sangai Express
The writer is General Secretary, Tingkao Ragwang Chapriak Phom, Assam, Manipur and Nagaland
This article was posted on January 11, 2014.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Day 2 : Pung & Dhol Chollom :: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2 : Maibi Jagoi :: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2 : MMTA Adventure :: Gallery
  • Hazari/Tombi Polo [7 Nov] :: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 1 : Culturals #3 :: Gallery
  • She left us but who'll forget her ?
  • My New Song :: Poem
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • Thanks Dr. Sinha for highlighting Manipur
  • SN seek clarification from NSCN (I-M)
  • House panel summons Ravi to clarify on FA
  • Sangai Day 1 : Culturals #2 :: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 1 : Culturals #1 :: Gallery
  • Miss Kut #5 :: Gallery
  • Best ever Bond film for children
  • Media Challenge: Glance from hills #2
  • Hard on the hexagon of beehives, Meiteilon..
  • NPF Resolutions of Nov 22, 2017
  • Inaugural Day Sangai Festival :: Gallery
  • Featured Photo for 2017 #5 :: Gallery
  • Kokkhum Festival #2 :: Gallery
  • Seitinmang, Laljangam, Parihal: eMing
  • Khamba Thoibi & Poems on Manipur : Rvw
  • Significance of learning Chinese language
  • JFA condemns Tripura scribe's murder
  • Zeliang calls for NE Tourist Circuit creation
  • Shillong Lajong I-League Squad 2017/18
  • Tourism Potential of Manipur
  • Sangai Run-Marathon @Sendra #1 :: Gallery
  • On Peace Deal & Framework Agreement #1
  • 22nd Winners' Cup (Football) #1 :: Gallery
  • The charge of sisters :: Poem
  • Reorganisation of North Eastern Council #2
  • DAMMS Freshers / Literary Meet 2017
  • (Blank Editorial)
  • Culturals @Mera Houchongba #2 :: Gallery
  • Kang Chingba @ Wangkhei :: Gallery
  • North East Fashion Week #2 :: Gallery
  • Know The Meetei
  • Indo-Naga Peace Process :: Articles
  • Not just the Gateway
  • Use milk for silky smooth skin
  • Mobile Application for Sangai Festival
  • Manipuri Mega Photo Contest Finalist
  • 5 point resolution on Naga Political Issue
  • NE is least favoured tourist destination
  • Final: Hazari/Tombi Polo #1 :: Gallery
  • Sangai Festival 2017- Events Schedule
  • #TB hotspot cannot be on blindspot
  • United Metal 3.0 @Imphal
  • My name is Kom, Mary Kom
  • Swachch Bharath Swasth Bharath
  • Sangai Festival 2017- Online booking site
  • The Killing Fields (2013-17) :: Timeline
  • Mary set on Olympic gold
  • For every causes, there is a reason
  • Moibung Khunou -near khurkhul :: Gallery
  • Miss Kut #4 :: Gallery
  • On the Naga Framework Agreement
  • Media Challenge: Glance from hills #1
  • GIS day at NIT Manipur
  • Pangal Leader Mohammed Hanif Shah
  • NPF questions Speaker convening meet
  • Painting Exhibition by Babli Das (Tripura)
  • Looking out for possible measures
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #7 : Ooba
  • Cultural Program @ MCA :: Gallery
  • Ningol ChakKouba @MBC #3 :: Gallery
  • Oh dear Daddy, see I a Native Proud: Poem
  • Buddha's metta and karuna #3
  • Narendra Modi will never play Nehru
  • Photo Caption Contest by Whakal.com
  • General Call to All Former NPF Leaders
  • Penguin Readathon & Book Gifting
  • ENNG opposes inclusion of TCL..
  • Report alarm for Arunachal
  • Loktak witness drastic fall in migratory birds
  • Lecture on 'Rohingya Resettlement'
  • 'Weaves of Ching-tam' @London :: Gallery
  • Opening: Jadonang Football #1 :: Gallery
  • Robert's Weaves of valley & hills at London
  • Remembering boy..felled by fake encounter
  • Sangai Photo Awards 2017 : Contest
  • Meeyam meekup nahum singna leibiyu
  • HighWays : Govt. needs seriousness
  • Singcha Wuya Won @Kamjong #4 :: Gallery
  • SDG Consultation: NE :: Gallery
  • North East Fashion Week #1 :: Gallery
  • Distribution Patterns of the Asian Eye
  • Sustainable Development Goal Consultation
  • Wrangle in Mapithel dam: Legal perspective
  • In the Slums of Heaven :: Poem
  • Wreath Laying Ceremony for AR Martyrs
  • Time to take a bow, Robert
  • Create jobs for NE to stop trafficking
  • March: Mera Houchongba #4:: Gallery
  • Sin-Lang Fest @DM College #2 :: Gallery
  • Sangai Festival: Ideas for a change
  • A shadowy dreamer :: Poem
  • Winter - A blessing in disguise for us ...
  • Course in Nanotechnology at NEHU
  • Pamel : Serene Natural Hub, near Lamlai
  • Vacancy at YVU Financial Services, Thoubal
  • System Operators @PR Enterprise, Khurai
  • Just by showing concern will not change..
  • Food Stall @Phayeng #2 :: Gallery
  • The moment :: Poem
  • Board exams decoded
  • 3rd NE Fashion at Itanagar: Day 2
  • Conference : North East in Globalized Era
  • NE-IAS launched to support Startup India
  • Painting Competition on Conservation
  • Ramkung Pamei is new MHJU Chief
  • Priyogopal (Senior Artist)- Photo :: eRang
  • Kabui Dance @Jadonang Football:: Gallery
  • Fashion @NE Festival, Delhi :: Gallery
  • Deviance and Corruption in Kangleipak
  • Applied health research is vital to #endTB
  • 3rd NE Fashion at Itanagar: Day 1
  • Tri-nation Motorcycle Rally reach Imphal
  • Traffic woes continues
  • Kwatha festival #1 :: Gallery
  • Kokkhum Festival #1 :: Gallery
  • Special Rapporteur on Human Rights
  • The threat to balkanize Manipur
  • Cry of a Dying River - 6 :: Poem
  • Biological based integrated Congress grass
  • 3rd Audition of Fagi Unplugged
  • Sadar Hills District Demand: News Timeline
  • Of clean environment
  • Paonam Lily (Archery) Reception :: Gallery
  • North East Fest @ Delhi :: Gallery
  • Girls Football- Nov 4 #2 :: Gallery
  • IBSD, India & VITO, Belgium signed MOU
  • First angioplasty for in-stent restenosis
  • RIST Popular Talk-33: Quantum Hall states
  • Commonwealth alumni event of NE
  • Lecture on The Rohingya Conundrum
  • Tri-National Motorcycle Rally
  • 3rd North East Fashion Week at Itanagar
  • ILP Nov 30 deadline: Why not only for valley
  • Expected changes, do we see ?
  • Festival of Raas Leela #2 :: Gallery
  • Sin-Lang Fest @DM College #1 :: Gallery
  • Hari Uthan- Kang Chingba #2 :: Gallery
  • Code of silence: Concealing gender justice
  • God Rules Over All :: Poem
  • Five day 'Flower Show' at Ukhrul
  • Go birding to honour Bird Man of India
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Uphul Waiphul and Leikhom Leinang
  • A reminder to Central Govt.
  • Ningol Chak-Kouba @Pune :: Gallery
  • Miss Kut #2 :: Gallery
  • Meitei Pictographic Writings :: Book Review
  • Careers related to mental health
  • Beauty & Money for a purpose
  • Human rights infractions in Mapithel Dam
  • AMAND Ningol Chakouba at Pune : Report
  • Chef Required at Kakching
  • NHPC Raising day at Loktak Power Station
  • Of ST demand, ILP, peace talk
  • For elderly people
  • Prof. Nongmaithem Tombi Singh : A Profile
  • Hazari/ Tombi Polo Tournament #2:: Gallery
  • U-17 Footballer honored by Guv :: Gallery
  • Just in favour of nocturnal life
  • Dance of Fire Flies at Autumn :: Poem
  • North East Festival bids farewell
  • Agenda of Govt spelt out at DBC, Maram
  • Nurturing the future
  • Ningol Chak-Kouba @Delhi #2:: Gallery
  • NE Fashion Weekend @Delhi #1 :: Gallery
  • History will not forgive us
  • A girl :: Poem
  • Pre-merger political party struggle
  • JRF wanted at NIT Silchar
  • March: Mera Houchongba #3:: Gallery
  • Girls Football- Nov 4 #1:: Gallery
  • Taxi- raising Air Pollution in Ukhrul
  • Skill development training with MUDA
  • Pui Thangamliu -Photos #1 :: eRang
  • NH7 Weekender [28 October] :: Gallery
  • Surjalal: Fellow of American Physical Society
  • Salesian College Grabs UK Project
  • Prime focus
  • Miss Kut #1 :: Gallery
  • Hari Uthan- Kang Chingba #1 :: Gallery
  • Kangujam Chinglensana (Hockey) feted
  • Chavang Kut @Tengnoupal :: Gallery
  • Sub-Junior Girls Football #2:: Gallery
  • Namsai gets Buddha relic from Thailand
  • Ningol Chak-Kouba @Delhi #1:: Gallery
  • 3rd Ningol Chakouba, Delhi : A Report
  • Dr. Rahejuddin Sheikh : Best Director Award
  • Chothe: Shabu Hong Rein :: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Candle light for Belinda Morse :: Gallery
  • Exhibition of Pottery Crafts #2 :: Gallery
  • Phayeng Cultural programme :: Gallery
  • Khongjom War Memorial #3 :: 360 ° View
  • Ichangi Laidhi #1 :: eRang
  • Ningol Chakkouba by Paomee:: Gallery
  • Ningol Chakkouba @Kolkata :: Gallery
  • Ningol to her mapam lamdam :: Gallery
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download it
  • Mera Men Tongba :: Gallery
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • Landscape of Manipur #7: Wallpaper
  • SPONSORED ADS