IMPHAL, March 10 - The people of Manipur have been celebrating Yaoshang with the ritual burning of �yaoshang�, a structure made of straw and bamboo, since last evening.
The five-day festival celebrates the victory of good over evil, and also the triumph of devotion. It usually begins on a full moon day in the Meitei lunar month of Lamta (February-March). The highlight of the festival, celebrated mostly in the valley area, is collection of donations from households by pre-puberty young boys and girls dressed in their traditional best and playing with water and colours.
The festival includes the Thabal Chongba, a traditional Manipuri folk dance, where boys and girls hold hands, sing and dance in a circle. A festive mood has filled the air in the State capital despite public precautions about coronavirus.
On the first day of the festival on Monday, members of local clubs here thronged the historic Kangla Fort to collect sacred fire for torch rallies.
Meanwhile, media houses in Imphal have announced a five-day holiday on account of the festival. The All Manipur Working Journalists� Union is also organising the 10th edition of a five-day sports meet on the occasion of the festival. More than 300 members of the union are competing in individual and group events in the meet.
Manipur Governor Dr Najma Heptulla, Chief Minister N Biren Singh, Speaker Yumnam Khemchand, former Chief Minister and Opposition leader O Ibobi Singh, former Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam and president of the Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee president M Okendro, in separate messages, have conveyed greetings to the people of Manipur on the occasion of the Yaoshang festival.
In her message, Governor Dr Heptulla said: �Let us all celebrate Yaoshang in its true spirit with the participation of all communities and resolve to make Manipur a better and peaceful State where mutual respect and love prevail among all communities.�
Chief Minister Biren Singh said, �Though Thabal Chongba and cultural performances are important components of Yaoshang, the festival has also emerged as an occasion to promote sports and social participation over the years.�