TODAY -

Ginki
- An important ritual festival of Zeliangrongs -

By Dr Budha Kamei *



Ginki is an important ritual festival of Zeliangrongs. It is the worship and entertainment of the Goddess of wealth for plentiful food grain.

The term Ginki means entertainment of the guest (Gin = guest, Kimei = to entertain; here guest, meaning the Goddess of wealth called Champei in local name). It is a one day festival held in the month of March - April in which only women participate in the worship of Champei, men are barred.

In this festival, a ritual called Napkaomei (calling of the paddy) is performed at the Peikai (village council) in which a pig is offered to Tingkao Ragwang for plentiful harvest. Holy wine is also offered to the Supreme Being. The victim is cut into pieces and distributed to every household of the village.

The presence of rice deity is well attested in Asia where it is the staple corp. The rice deity is normally female, and to this Manipur is no exception. (Saroj Nalini Parrat : The Religion of Manipur (Beliefs, Rituals and Historical Development, Culcutta, 1980, p.91) Champei is the rice Goddess of Zeliangrongs.

Frank Byron Jevons opines, "It is therefore an easy guess that the cultivation of plants was one of women's contributions to the development of civilisation; and it is in harmony with this conjecture that the cereal deities are usually, both in the old and the New, female". (Frank Byron Jevons : The History of Religion, Orient Publications, Delhi, 1985 (Reprint) p.240).

The rituals or celebration connected with agricultural deities are generally performed by women, men are excluded. (ibid.) She is the generative principle, the power of life and a growth, in nature.

Regarding the origin of this festival, myth and legend speak, "Once Champei appeared in the form of an old woman 'poor' unwanted with sores from head to toe. She visited every house from one end of the village to the other, asking a night's shelter. She stood at a door and asked "Can I stay in your house tonight" "Oh no", we have a new baby cow so we are under a religious Genna, Kainumei.

Having been refused at a door, finally come to a house where two orphan lived. They had no extra room, space, food or cloth. They had nothing to offer but accepted the old unwanted poor woman.

As they had nothing to cook but they were instructed to cook some a paddy green which is inside the bin of grain called Nasham Pantilai.

It multiplied and so they had a great feast that evening. On the next early morning, she left the village after producing a lot of paddy grain for the poor family. The villagers came to know that the old woman was Champei.

They followed her beyond the village gate and requested her to come back. She refused and told them to perform Ginki every year—that day she would revisit. By saying this, she left the village".

Consequently, the Zeliangrong people perform Ginki every year for abundant food grain.

In the worship and entertainment of Champei, they offer special items of food such as rice, dry meat, cooked curry, egg, and a wine cup on a winnowing fan (Pantanglu). It is believed that the Goddess is found of crabs, so even a tiny piece of crab is compulsory among the food items.

This ritual offering is performed by the mother of the household with a prayer to the Goddess for bestowing plentiful harvest in the year. The offering procedure is simple and of short duration.

Hence, Ginki Ngai is important to these people.


* Dr Budha Kamei wrote this for Sangai Express. This article was webcasted on August 03, 2010.



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