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Poumai Thounii Festival

Poumai Thounii Festival-2002
(Identity for Peace and Prosperity)

Atom Samarendra Singh

Zhaimai (Liyai), a scenic village in Senapati district of Manipur, is the home of around 600 families of Poumai tribe. 135 kms away from Imphal the village borders with Phek district of Nagaland. It has a long and winding road from Tadubi in Senapati district with a total distance of 35 kms. It was at this village where the biggest harvest festival of Poumai community “Poumai Thounii” celebrated with full of festivities all-day long during 4th - 7th January 2002. The four day long festival was attended by more than 15 thousands people belonging particularly to the Poumai and Chakeshang communities including residents of four villages of Nagaland.

The festival, celebrated under the theme “Identity for Peace and Prosperity” was the first ever common Thounii celebration held jointly by Poumais from different villages. The Poumais celebrate the festival every 5th January according to their lunar calendar. The festival kicked off on 4th January with the Outer Manipur MP Holkhomang Haokip, who attended the inaugural function as chief guest, declaring the festival marked a new path for bringing peace and harmony among all tribes of Manipur.

Nagaland Legislative Assembly Speaker Zhovehii Lohe attended the cultural function on 6th January as chief guest. Lohe in his speech said “Naga have a richer culture than others by the grace of God but a culture without honesty and sense of responsibility and fairness is not a culture”. Hriipuni Lao Veymai, Nagaland Rural Development minister who also attended the celebration said that “To me, culture is an emotional thing which makes the people come closer. If the Nagas integrate or unite themselves socially and culturally, then political integration will follow suit”.

During the festival a spectrum of cultural and traditional dances, songs and indigenous games and sports of the Poumai tribe were held. Modern talent competitions events including music, martial arts, fashion shows and beauty pageant were other main facets of the festival. An added attraction of the festival was exhibition and demonstration of wide ranges of indigenous handicraft and handloom of Poumai tribe. Organizers spent Rs 20 lakhs for the whole episode and a total of 40 cows, 30 pigs, and 40 buffaloes were consumed during the celebration.

The Liyai village came alive with festivities on the concluding day as young Poumai beauties attiring in traditional and various exotic dresses walked on the ramps during Miss Thounii 2002 beauty pageant which was held amidst clapping and wild cheering from the audience numbering around 15,000 on the cold wintry night of January 7.

After three successive rounds of traditional, casual and formal round, twenty-two year old Indian Airlines hostess Larshana Maikho was crowned the coveted Miss Thounii 2002. Salome Lana (21) walked away with the first runners-up title while Celine of Saranami was adjudged the 2nd runners-up. Hailing from Purul in Senapati district of Manipur, Larshana had also participated in the Pune May Queen last year. Larshana who is doing M Com in Mumbai said she joined the IA as Flight Steward recently. Traveling, modeling and exercising are her hobbies. She was all smiles when she said she was on cloud nine on being crowned the title. Salome, another beauty from Purul, who won the title in 1998 appealed for unity to bring peace and prosperity in the region. Her hobbies include music and dancing.

A fashion show under the banner - Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow was also held on the concluding day.

E-pao is glad to present our valued visitors a collection of photographs taken on different occasions during the festival courtesy of The Sangai Express. Roll your mouse to get the glimpses of them!

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........and many more


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