Imphal (Manipur) [India], November 1 (ANI): Mera Houchongba, a festival to promote brotherhood and unity among indigenous communities, was celebrated at the Manipur Royal palace (Sana Konung) in Imphal in the presence of erstwhile King Leishemba Sanajaoba on Saturday.
Organised by the Uttar Shanglen, Sana Konung the event earlier saw an exchange of gifts such as traditional fabrics, vegetables, and fruits among the hill and valley people settled in the state, besides the performance of cultural dances. However, this year the celebration was limited to the sacred rituals at the Royal Palace and Kangla fort.
This year, the festival was celebrated in the presence of fewer people due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Only the village chief hailing from Khullakpa (Chief of Village) of Ramji Khun, G Ganguilung led the process of exchanging gifts while Kabui chief, K Gaipuilang performed the 'Yenkhong Tamba' rituals, and royal palace officials sat on the dais for the duration of the festival.
"Mera Houchongba has been celebrated for a long time to project solidarity among different ethnic groups in Manipur and to give strength to the process of consolidation of the idea of Manipuri nationalism," erstwhile King Leishemba Sanajaoba told ANI.
As part of the celebration, inhabitants of the hill regions of the state display feats of strength before the erstwhile monarch.
"The festival has been observed since the first century C.E. Before 1891, it was observed in Lampak, which is located to the West of Kanglasa and southwest of Nungoibi," Sanajaoba added.
The festival is observed and celebrated in the month of Mera, which falls in September or October. (ANI)