Cheiraoba 2024

14 April 2024
Manipur    Regional holiday

Meetei Cheiraoba or Sajibu Cheiraoba also known as Sajibu Nongma Panba is the celebration of a new lunar year for the people who follow Sanamahism in the northeastern state of Manipur in India. The name Sajibu Nongma Panba derives from the Manipuri words Sajibu meaning the first month of the year which usually falls during the month of April according to Meitei lunar calendar, Nongma denotes the first date of a Month, Panba means to be. Literally, the name of this festival means the first day of the month of Sajibu. Similarly, this lunar new year is celebrated on the same day as in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and many other Indian states.

People clean their homes prior to this festival to welcome the new year. On the day of the festival, people enjoy a joint family celebration meal where they prepare local dishes. Before they enjoy the joint feast, they offer this food to their local deities at the entrance of their houses. This festival is usually celebrated by the Hindus but the Muslims of Manipur also take part in this festival to celebrate peace and harmony. Another exciting tradition of this festival is that on this day the local people climb the Cheiraaoching which is located on the Chingmeirong or they climb the nearby hills in order to offer prayers as they believe that doing this will help them achieve great heights in life and bring them closer to god.

Married women also visit their maternal homes along with gifts for their family and relatives in order to wish them prosperity and wealth in the upcoming year. The New Year celebration also includes people performing Thabal Chongba which is a traditional folk dance. The local people organize this dance at various localities at night where they dance their heart out and welcome the new year.