IMPHAL, March 21� Manipur today celebrated Sajibu Nongma Panba Cheiraoba, the New Year of the Manipuris. It is celebrated on the first day of the Manipuri month, Sajibu, which falls in the month of March or April.
Cheiraoba, which marks the beginning of a new cycle of life on the Meitei calendar, was widely celebrated in the State. Praying to gods by offering flowers, fruits and dishes, traditional family feasting, climbing nearby hillocks in the afternoon, etc., marked the occasion.
Important hill ranges or hillocks in and around Imphal town and the State, particularly Thangmeiband Cheiraoching and Singjamei Chinga, were full of children, youths and family folks on Saturday afternoon.
Special festive dishes are prepared from vegetables to be offered to deities for a grand feast for families. After the preparation, the cooked food is offered by the elders of the house to three deities for the protection of the family. Married women give gifts to their parents and brothers on the occasion. The youths seek the blessings of the elders of the family.
Meanwhile, President Pranab Mukherjee has also greeted the people on the occasion of the spring festival. �On the joyous occasion of Chaitra Sukladi, Ugadi, Gudi Padava, Chetti Chand, Navreh and Sajibu Cheiraoba, I send my greetings and good wishes to all my fellow citizens celebrating these festivals in different parts of the country,� said the President in a message. �May the celebrations promote among our people the values of tolerance and fellow feeling and strengthen traditional bonds of amity, understanding and harmony.�
Manipur Governor Dr KK Paul, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam, Assembly Speaker Th Lokeshwar, Lok Sabha member Dr Th Meinya and other dignitaries have extended warm greetings to the people on the occasion of the Meitei New Year.
In separate greetings, they said Sajibu Nongma Panba marks the end of the previous year and the onset of the New Year. On the auspicious occasion, youngsters seek the blessings of elders for a happy and long life. With the advent of a New Year, people pray that the festival ushers in an era of peace, progress and prosperity in the region and enhances the spirit of unity, cohesiveness and brotherhood among the communities of Manipur.