IMPHAL, January 7: The State level Gaan Ngai festival was observed at two places in the state with organizers of both celebrations claiming their celebrations as State level.
Gaan Ngai festival was also observed at the BOAD with Governor of Manipur Gurbachan Jagat gracing the celebration as the chief guest while L.P. Gonmei IAS, principal Secretary, govt. of Manipur as chief guest and president of the festival.
Speaking during the celebration, the Governor stated that Gaan-Ngai marks the end of a year and heralds a new year. It is the biggest annual festival of the Zeliangrong community lasting for five days.
He further elaborated that the festival which literally means “Festival of Winter Season” is a festival paying homage to those souls who departed the year before and is also an occasion of worship, joy and merriment providing an opportunity not only to the Zeliangrong people but also to others to come together and work for our shared goal of ensuring peace and harmony in the society, setting aside all differences, said governor.
Further he appealed that “While celebrating Gaan-Ngai, we should resolve to follow the spiritual and moral values that the festival conveys to make the festival significant”.
Also he elaborated that every festival of a community or a group of people has its own and distinct character and message. The spirit of Gaan-Ngai festival is to disseminate the message of peace, friendship, brotherhood, compassion and forgiveness among the people not only of Manipur, but also to mankind, he said.
Meanwhile delivering his key note addressed, president of Zeliangrong Union (AMN) Amu Kamei said that Gaan-Ngai festival is believed to be as old as human culture and particularly agricultural life.
Further he said for thousands of years, the Zeliangrong people had been celebrating the Gaan-Ngai festival as an inseparable part of their traditional and customs, every year at their respective village level.
Meanwhile, the state level Gaan-Ngai Celebration Committee, Manipur under the Tingkao Rawang Chapriak Phom, TRCP (Assam, Manipur Nagaland) organized another celebration at Chinikon village, Senapati district today.
Speaking as chief guest, UCM president Yumnamcha Dilipkumar stated that the people of the State should preserve the indigenous religions of the state so as to bring peace, development and unity amongst the various communities residing in the state.
He stated that the indigenous people of the state have been divided by religion like Hinduism and Christianity. He further added that the advent of various religions from outside has created the Meitei-tribal divide.
He further informed that a true Kabui has his own indigenous religion and he cannot be identified with any other religion.
“It is time for the indigenous people to preserve our own religion and bring peace and unity amongst the communities of the state.
He further stated that the UCM will act in its level to bring the state observation of the Gaan-Ngai festival under a single organizer.
Poudongai Kamson, in his presidential speech expressed his heartfelt sorrow over the observation of the state level Gaan –Ngai at two places. He expressed that the TRCP has been demanding the declaration of Gaan-Ngai as a state holiday since 1976.
The first state level Gaan-Ngai festival was observed for a week at Ragailong in 1998 in the presence of then CM Nipamacha after his government assured the declaration of the festival as state holiday.
However it was only in the year 2003, when the then government declared Gaan-Ngai as state holiday and since then the TRCP has been organizing the state level Gaan-Ngai festival.
The main highlights of the observation were the sacrifice of a pig to examine its spleen for the prediction of the future of the people; obligation of the holy wine to the Tingkao Ragwang; shouting of Hoi and extraction of sacred fire which were followed by cultural dances.