Exclusive

Expensive rites of passage

IFP Editorial: Given the frequency of ceremonies during the marriage season, it has become a burden for many and especially for those with little means.

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 3 Nov 2022, 7:39 pm

Ningol Chakouba feast in Imphal, Manipur (PHOTO: IFP)
Ningol Chakouba feast in Imphal, Manipur (PHOTO: IFP)

One good thing about the pandemic was the maximum reduction of extravagance in traditional rituals and mind-boggling ceremonies relating to the rites of passage in Meitei society. Due to lockdown procedures, every ceremony became a family affair along with a minimum of few relatives and friends. Although the air is now somewhat clear of the pandemic, many families continue to steer clear of extravagant rituals and ceremonies with the realisation that no offence was made to the gods when we cut down on expenses and extraneous procedures.

In the Meitei community, everything is elaborate in the rituals and ceremonies, be it among the followers of traditional Meitei religion like Sanamahi or Hindu Vaishnavism. Of all the rituals and ceremonies, one cannot do away with the ceremonies relating birth, marriage and death while other ceremonies are mere add-ons. However some rituals which should be strictly a family affair like Ipan Thaaba, Chak-umba, Nahut Nareng Tamba or piercing of the ear and Nagun Thangba or Coming of Age ritual have also become a community affair.

ALSO READ: With almost no paddy left to reap, farmers seek government intervention

Add to that, the extraneous ceremonies like Yum Sangaba and house-warming parties, birthday parties, wedding anniversaries and other extravagant add-ons and mind you it involves extra expenses for gifts from those who are invited.

Advertisement

The concept of Shingyen and Potyeng is still in practice, but it has been stretched to unimaginable limits today with the add-on ceremonies. These are forms of community participation or contribution in the rites of passage where the family is not left alone to bear the costs. But, the practice has greatly evolved with time, especially in the practice of giving Potyeng. With ever-rising inflation, the rates of mandatory Potyeng-sel has increased to Rs 500 and Rs 1,000.

Anything below is ridiculed. Again, it has become a ritual for everyone attending to celebrate the performers of Nat Sankritan with Rs 10 notes each. However, with the scarcity of Rs 10 notes in circulation, it has slowly been replaced with Rs 20 notes. Nowadays, it has also become a practice to celebrate the first-benchers in the mandap with the same Rs 10 or 20 notes.

ALSO READ: Unemployment in Manipur: Thousands of job seekers in dire strait as government fails to intervene effectively

Given the frequency of ceremonies during the marriage season, it has become a burden for many and especially for those with little means. Even some VVIPs have started to complain, as for them they had to attend the ceremony of each and every family in his or her constituency.

Advertisement

On the other hand, the overall expenditure in organising these rituals and ceremonies had increased manifold particularly in marriage ceremonies with extravagantly decorated pandals and catering services with exorbitant rates, wedding cakes, momos and non-veg items, on-site tea and hot snacks and lavish feasts during Mangani Chakkouba.

With the entry of event managers or the modern day Arangphams, the expenses had gone through the roof. These events handle everything from erecting pandals and decorating them with extravagant paraphernalia, photography sessions and videography, organising wedding cake parties, catering services and what not.

It was indeed lucky that they left the ritual part to the Arangphams. During Sradhha or Lanna Thouram, it has become customary nowadays to add a utensil or towel over and above the food items being offered and mandatory Dakhina. Indeed, the time has come for the society to fall back and think on extraneous expenses during such rituals and ceremonies.

- EDITORIAL

Advertisement

First published:

Tags:

meitei societytraditional ritualsrites of passage

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur

Advertisement

Top Stories

Loading data...
Advertisement

IFP Exclusive

Loading data...
Advertisement

Feedback

Have a complaint, a suggestion or just some feedback about our content? Please write to onlineifp@gmail.com and we’ll do our best to address it.