Dr. Ngangbam Shantikumar Meetei who resides in Taiwan wished all the Manipuri people on the occasion of Sajibu Nongba Panba Cheiraoba which is Manipuri New Year. Thousands of Manipuris are wishing each on social media. The 16 times Mr Taiwan holder Manipuri bodybuilder wished also wish people through the medium of social media Facebook. In a Facebook post, he wrote, “Nongpok lamdamda leijabana ereicha mayamdagi khara mangjou thana thougal phangjabaga loinana nungai paojei pijariye…
Enatpu nungshijaba, ekaikhumnajaba amadi yokhatchabana eikhoi khudingmakki thoudang oiminnarase. Yaiphaminnarasi.
Hayum sitapa yaiphare, yaiphare, yaiphare!!!” In the post, the Taiwan based professor and bodybuilder shared his love of tradition and responsibility of all to preserve the tradition. He could be seen along with his family members.
Hundreds of well wishers are wishing him back. Besides the well wishers, international players are sharing their wishes on social media. International cyclist Tongbram Manorama joined in wishing the professor too. In her Manipuri post she wrote, “Nungai yaiphaba ngasi cheiraoba ashidgi ka giju hena nungaiba yaiphba oibiu”.
Meetei New Year / Sajibu Nongma Panba started during the reign of King Maliya Fambalcha (1359 BC-1329 BC). Day is celebrated by Manipuri Meeteis across the world to mark the beginning of ‘Manipuri New Year’. The day begins with ritual offerings of fruits, vegetables, rice and other uncooked food items to the Meitei deity Lord Lainingthou Sanamahi during the early morning of the festival. After getting blessings from the Lord an even number of dishes are prepared using the offerings. After the dishes for the feast are made, they are ritually offered to the Lord and three deities – Kumsana Kumliklai (Lord of the golden year), Lamsenba Tusenba (Guardian of the Land) and Lammaba Tumaba (Lord of the land) who are offered blessings outside but near gate of the house. The area located outside the gate are specially cleansed and sanctified before the offering by cleaning and decorating it with mud, flowers and leaves. The offering traditionally includes an odd number (chang taaba) of dishes surrounding a small mound of steamed rice, a token currency, fruits, flowers, a candle, and an incense stick, all of them placed upon a plantain leaf. This ritual is performed in the late morning.
After this ritual, the dishes prepared for the feast are exchange with relatives/neighbours and this custom is called “Mathel Laanba” after which the feast will start. It is also traditional that a married woman should present a gift, usually a piece of cloth, to her father and brothers, relatives, elders of neighbor, prior, after or on the day of the festival.
After the feast, it is tradition that family members climb a small hillock specially prepared by the community near the locality to pay homage to the hill deity, signifying the elevation of the spirit to reach the divine. The “Chinnga” at Singjamei and “Cheirao Ching” at Thangmeiband and Chingmeirong are such hillocks that are specially prepared for these hillock climbing ritual. Toy shops, eateries, and other varied small shops will line the road to the hillock on that day to attract the ritual climbers to buy their items. The Ching Kaba is usually done during the afternoon to early evening, before the sun sets.
It is believed that on the day of new year anything that happens on that day will happen for the rest of the year i.e. if one is happy and healthy on that day, one will be happy and healthy for the rest of the year. So everybody tries to be happy on this day!