What is Yaoshang Festival?
Celebrated over five days during the full moon day of the Lamda month (February-March), Yaosang is one of the key festivals in Manipur. The festival is part of the indigenous traditions of the Meitei people. It begins just after sunset in every village with the Yaosang Mei thaba (burning of the straw hut).
What is Yaoshang or Yaosang festival?
The Manipuris celebrate Holi as the Yaoshang festival. The festival is celebrated for five days. It is celebrated to mark the beginning of spring. Worshippers sing hymns and kirtans on this day.
Yaoshang Mei Thaba
It is a ritual performed during the festival. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was a 15th-century saint. He is believed to be the avatar of Lord Krishna and Goddess Radha. During the Yaoshang festival, an idol of Lord Chaitanya is placed in a hut-like structure made of hay and worshipped for six to seven days. On the night before the festival, the idol is removed and the hut is burnt to ashes. The burning ceremony is called “YAOSHANG MEI THABA”. The ashes are believed to be highly auspicious. These ashes are sprayed over the head and in front of the houses in the locality.
Music and Dance of Yaoshang festival
The celebrations of the Yaosang festival were kicked off recently. They include a wide range of activities such as the Thabal Chongba, a traditional Manipuri dance, sports competitions like Mukna Kangjei (a combination of hockey and wrestling), and Pana Sankirtana, a form of traditional music.
Who celebrates the Yaoshang festival?
Meiti tribes. The modern-day Manipuris are the Meitei tribes. They speak the Meitei language. The Meiti is one of the 22 official languages of Manipur. Meitis are spread over Myanmar and Bangladesh. In India, they live in Assam, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Meghalaya, and Nagaland. 53% of the Manipur population consists of Meiti tribes.
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