Manipur, a delightful land full of vibrant celebrations that will entice you to visit again and again. Not a single month goes by without a joyous festivity in this mountainous town. Kut, Lai Haraoba, Yaoshang, or Chumpha, all of these Manipur festivities exemplify the spirit, cultural richness, and unity of the people of Manipur. Attending these festivals is the best way to immerse yourself in the unique culture and way of life in Manipur. Culture enthusiasts will find immense delight in experiencing these celebrations. If you’re someone who wishes to explore the profound heritage and culture of this hill district, then visiting Manipur during one of these festivals is an absolute must.
Well-Known Celebrations in Manipur
Discover the details of the mesmerizing Manipur festivals in 2022 and become a part of these captivating religious and cultural observances on your next journey to the Northeast. Make sure to mark the dates of these festivals in your calendar.
- Cheiraoba Festival
- Lai Haraoba
- Kang Festival
- Heirku Hindongba
- Kut Festival
- Manipur Sangai Festival
- Ningol Chakouba
- Chumpha Festival
- Lui Ngai Ni
- Gang Ngai
Among the most renowned festivals in India, Christmas in Manipur is not just celebrated within Christian communities, but is embraced by everyone in Manipur. This dazzling winter celebration involves singing Christmas carols and engaging in Gospel and Bible readings. Furthermore, Christmas brings families and friends together. People organize gatherings, adorn their houses, display Christmas trees, bake cakes, prepare festive delicacies, and children receive surprise gifts from Santa Claus.
Key highlights: Midnight masses in churches. Date: 24th and 25th December
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2. Cheiraoba Festival
One of the most well-known festivities in Manipur, Cheiraoba is celebrated on the 1st day of the Sajibu month (March-April). Also known as the Spring Festival, it is a time when people dress up in traditional attire, visit friends and relatives, exchange greetings and gifts, and prepare local delicacies. The regional goddess Sanamahi is also revered during the Cheiraoba festival in Manipur.
Key highlights: People climb up Cheiraoching hilltop in Imphal during this festival. The locals believe that ascending this hillock signifies the progression of human civilization. Date: 14th April 2022
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3. Yaoshang (Holi)
The festivities of Yaoshang Festival in Manipur, also known as Holi, commence on the full moon day of the Phalguna month (February-March) and stretch over 5 eventful days. This vibrant celebration holds tremendous significance not only in Manipur but across the entire northeastern region of India. People enthusiastically engage in splashing dry and wet colors, singing melodious tunes, and dancing together. Furthermore, children go door to door collecting contributions to organize sumptuous feasts, lively parties, and exhilarating sports and games within their communities.
Notable attractions: Thabal Chongba- a traditional Manipuri folk dance in which boys and girls form a circle, holding hands and swaying to the rhythm. Date: 18th – 19th March 2022
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4. Lai Haraoba
Lai Haraoba, an extraordinary festivity rooted in the worship of local gods and goddesses, is among the most celebrated festivals in Manipur. During this jubilant occasion, people express their deep devotion and reverence towards their ancestors. Translating to ‘festivity of Gods,’ Lai Haraoba entails the worship of various local deities such as Sanamahi, Nongpok Ningthou, Leimarel, Pakhangba, and 364 Umang Lais or Jungle deities. Both men and women partake in mesmerizing folk dance performances, dramatic enactments, and captivating Thoibi and Khamba presentations, popular Manipuri folklore, in front of the revered deities.
Notable attractions: A grand procession meandering through the neighborhood, with the deity carried in a beautifully adorned palanquin. Date: May 2022
5. Kang Festival
Every year, the spirited Kang Festival or Rath Yatra takes place at the Govindjee temple in Manipur. During this joyous celebration, idols of Jagannatha, Balarama, and Subhadra are ceremoniously carried in a kang (the local term for a chariot). Devotees ardently pull the kang and joyfully play musical instruments like nahal, gongs, bells, drums, and conch shells. As a token of devotion, they also offer barti, which are cotton balls soaked in ghee, to the deities during the procession. The festivities extend for a glorious period of 10 days and undoubtedly make the Kang Festival one of the prominent festivals in Manipur.
Key attractions: Experience the captivating Kirtan Khubakisei performed by devoted participants in the procession.
Date: July 1st, 2022
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6. The Celebration of Heirku Hindongba
Heirku Hindongba, taking place on the 11th day of the Langbal month (September), is another noteworthy event in the festival lineup of Manipur. This festival showcases an exhilarating boat race on the Bijoy Govinda canal in Manipur. Local youth participate in this thrilling competition with utmost passion, enthusiasm, and teamwork. Prior to the festival, the boats are thoroughly cleansed and blessed with sacred chants, adorned with garlands. Along the canal, temporary tents are erected to accommodate spectators from all corners of the state.
Key attractions: The canal is adorned with the idol of Lord Vishnu, believed to oversee the race and preside over the festivities. Additionally, Brahmins offer offerings of gold and silver to the deities before the commencement of the boat race.
Date: To be announced
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7. Kut Festival
One of the most vibrant and renowned celebrations in Manipur is the Kut Festival, observed by the Kuki-Chin-Mizo tribe. Over time, Kut festival has evolved into a joyful commemoration of peace, harmony, communal unity, and friendship. Also called Chavang-Kut or Khodou, this festival serves as a tribute to the abundant harvest of the year. People express their gratitude to the gods for the plentiful crops through singing, dancing, and merry-making.
Key attractions: Miss Kut, a beauty pageant held during the festival.
Date: November 1st, 2022
8. Manipur Sangai Festival
One of the liveliest festivals, the Manipur Sangai Festival is celebrated annually in November. Since its inception in 2010, the Manipur Sangai Festival has emerged as a significant platform to showcase the state’s rich indigenous art and culture. Visitors can enjoy stunning performances of traditional dances, music, and sports from Manipur, as well as exhibitions featuring local handicrafts and cuisine. As part of the Manipur Sangai Festival 2022, the Manipur Film Festival is jointly organized by MSFDS and Film Forum Manipur, screening movies and short films created by local directors. This initiative aims to promote the Manipur film industry on both national and international fronts.
Highlighted Attractions: Experience captivating dance forms such as Kabui Naga Dance, Raas Leela, Bamboo Dance, and Khamba Thoibi Dance. Immerse yourself in the vibrant showcase of native sports including Yubi-Lakpi (a greased coconut rugby-like game), Thang Ta (a fusion of spear and sword skills), Sagol Kangjei (Manipur’s version of Polo), and Mukna Kangjei (a distinctive combination of hockey and wrestling). Indulge in the purchase of local handlooms, handicrafts, and savor Manipuri delicacies like Nga Thongba (fish curry), Paknam (cake), and Eromba (a special dish of boiled vegetables and fermented fish).
Date: 21st to 30th November 2022
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A Celebration of Ningol Chakouba
The Revelry of Ningol Chakouba Festival in Manipur: Enthral in the festive spirit of Manipur’s renowned Ningol Chakouba festival, celebrated among the Meiteis or Vaishnavites. This significant event has now transcended into participation by the Manipuri Muslim community as well. The festivities revolve around inviting married women, residing in distant areas after their marriage, to their parental abodes along with their children. They are warmly greeted, cherished with sumptuous meals, and spend the entire day in the embrace of their parents, showered with blessings and gifts. This delightful occasion falls on the second day of the New Moon during the Manipuri month of Hiyangei, typically occurring in November.
Highlighted Attractions: Delight in the preparation of exclusive dishes like Pan Thongba, Chagempomba, Champhut, and Iromba.
Date: 5th November 2022
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The Mesmerizing Chumpha Festival
Celebrated by the Tanghul Nagas, the tribal community, Chumpha Festival is an esteemed Manipur festival observed for seven glorious days after the harvest season. The local populace rejoices in the bountiful yield and commemorates the occasion with jubilation and gatherings among friends and families, especially during the final three days. The culmination of the Chumpha festival takes place with a magnificent village procession on the seventh day. This cherished Manipur harvest festival is an experience worth cherishing.
Highlighted Attractions: Stand witness to the remarkable participation of women in every ritual during this distinct festival of Manipur.
Date: 10th – 16th December 2022
The Enthralling Lui Ngai Ni
Lui Ngai Ni is the festival of seed-sowing that is celebrated by the tribes in Manipur at the beginning of the Manipur season. It represents the primary festival of Manipur and is observed with great enthusiasm and fervor. The term – Lui-Ngai-Ni is derived from three different languages of Naga tribes, but they all signify the same thing, which is the sowing of seeds. The tribal people express their gratitude to the god of crops by dancing and singing in anticipation of a bountiful harvest. Immerse yourself in one of the most exhilarating Manipur festivals in 2022 for a distinctive experience.
Main attractions: Traditional dances performed by the locals.Date: February 15th, 2022
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Manipur also has a significant Muslim population that celebrates Eid during the month of Ramzaan. The celebrations follow the same rituals and traditions observed by Muslims around the world. People visit the mosque for daily prayers, observe a month-long fast, and conclude their fast on the new moon day. They also exchange gifts and prepare sumptuous feasts during Ramjan. In Manipur, it is known as Meitei Pangal.
Main attractions: Lavish feasts featuring delectable dishes.Date: April 2nd to May 2nd, 2022
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13. Gang Ngai
Gang Ngai is a celebration of the customs and traditions of Kabui Nagas in Manipur. This festival spans five days, with the first day dedicated to honoring their ancestors. The subsequent four days are filled with extravagant feasts, dancing, singing, and various cultural programs. Melodious music resonates from their traditional musical instruments, and gifts are exchanged among the tribe members.
Main attractions: Street processions featuring men and women adorned in vibrant attire.Date: December or January
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If you are someone who appreciates being part of diverse Manipur festivals and relishes the cultural richness of our nation, then you must visit the Northeast to experience the true diversity it offers. So, plan a trip to the Northeast and explore all the seven sisters, including Manipur. Also, make sure to attend at least one of these festivals.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Manipur
What is Manipur known for?
Manipur, one of the seven Northeastern states of India, is renowned for its untapped natural beauty and vibrant culture. The must-visit attractions in Manipur include the mesmerizing Loktak Lake and the enchanting Khonghampat Orchidarium.
What is the traditional attire of Manipur?
The traditional dress of Manipur is practical and straightforward. Women wear a sarong paired with a Phanek and a shawl called Innaphi. Men, on the other hand, don a dhoti, a jacket, and a white Pagri or turban.
What is the cultural heritage of Manipur?
The rich cultural heritage of Manipur is deeply rooted in its tribal traditions. The culture is characterized by the use of vivid hues and the significance of dance. The traditional attire of Manipur showcases a burst of diverse shades. Additionally, traditional dance forms like Khamba Thoibi Dance, Rasleela, and Manipuri Dance hold a vital role in celebratory events and community gatherings.
What are the traditional dances of Manipur?
Manipur is known for various folk dance forms, including Khamba Thoibi Dance, Rasleela, and Manipuri Dance.
What language is spoken in Manipur?
The language spoken in Manipur is Manipuri Meiteilon, also known as Meitei (Meetei). It belongs to the Tibeto-Burman language family.
What are the staple foods of Manipur?
In Manipur, the staple food consists of rice, fish, and vegetables. A popular dish in the region is Ngri, which is prepared using fermented fish.
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