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Mera Houchongba festival celebrated in Manipur

By Correspondent

IMPHAL, Oct 13 - Mera Houchongba, a festival to promote solidarity and integrity among different ethnic communities of Manipur, was celebrated in a grand way at the historic Kangla Fort on Sunday.

Age-old rituals were performed, gifts were exchanged and cultural items were presented by different communities during the celebration.

Chief Minister N Biren Singh and titular king Leishemba Sanajaoba attended the Mera Houchongba, a festival which exemplifies oneness and brotherhood among different ethnic communities.

Art and Culture Minister L Jayantakumar, Public Health Engineering Minister L Dikho, Lok Sabha MP Lorho Pfoze, S Rajen of State Planning Board, H Dingo of Manipur Building and Other Construction Workers� Welfare Board, MLAs Awangbou Newmai, Khashim Vashum and L Sushindro also attended the festival. Village chiefs and a large number of people were present on the occasion.

Addressing the gathering, Chief Minister Biren Singh said the ancient stories of brotherhood and the civilisation of Manipur should be included in the syllabus of educational institutions so that the younger generations understand that people residing in the hills and valleys of Manipur share common ancestry and have unbreakable blood relations.

In the morning, a large number of people gathered at the Royal Palace and took out a colourful procession to Kangla as part of the celebrations. Later, age-old rituals like Mera Men Tongba and Yenkhong Tamba were performed to strengthen the bonds among people of different ethnic communities.

�Mera Wayungba or Mera Thaomei Thaanba narrates the age-old story of how the younger brother who went down to the valley signalled to his elder brother in the hills about his well-being,� N Biren said. During Mera Wayungba or Mera Thaomei Thaanba, every house arranges a light in front and prays for peace in the month of �Mera� of the Manipuri calendar, which usually falls in October.

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