IMPHAL, Jan 10 - Making of holy fire for purification of the entire community and colourful dance sequence by various dance groups representing the numerous Zeliangrong communities, Gaan Ngai, the biggest annual post-harvest festival of Zeliangrong tribes of Assam, Manipur and Nagaland, began at various Zeliangrong areas in Manipur and NE region today.
The formal inauguration of the seven-day Gaan Ngai festival, heralding the close of the old year and arrival of the new year, was marked by congregational prayers and colourful dance at Ragailong Kabui village here.
Manipur Chief Secretary Oinam Nabakishore, who was the chief guest at the inaugural function, in his speech, assured that the State government will continue to take up necessary steps to promote the Gaan Ngai festival in the State.
The day�s function was held under the aegis of Zeliangrong Union (ZU-Assam, Manipur and Nagaland).
Zeliangrong Union (Assam, Manipur and Nagaland) president Amu Kamei and chairperson RH Gonmei of Manipur State Scheduled Tribe Commission, who were the guests of honour at the inaugural function, also spoke on the occasion.
According to folklore, this religious and cultural festival of the Zeliangrong, comprising Zeme, Liangmai and Rongmei tribes, originated in the ancient village of Makuilongdi in the Senapati district of Manipur.
Manipur Governor Dr Najma A Heptulla and Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh have wished the people of Manipur, particularly the Zeliangrongs, on the joyous and auspicious occasion of Gaan Ngai. Asserting that the Zeliangrong community celebrates the biggest and one of the oldest indigenous festivals, she greeted: �Let us ring in a new year full of hope and aspiration with Gaan Ngai showering peace and harmony upon the people of Manipur.�
�I hope the festival will strengthen brotherhood and oneness among all sections of people in the State,� Chief Minister Ibobi said in a message.