The state level Gaan Ngai Celebration Committee Manipur celebrated Gaan Ngai at Iboyaima Shumang Leela Shanglen, Imphal East on Wednesday. Gaan Ngai, a colourful indigenous festival of the Zeliangrong community is celebrated on the 13th day of the Manipuri month of "Wakching".
The celebration began with lighting of a traditional lamp used in an ancient system called Mai-Labmei (extracting fire by rubbing a piece of bamboo and dry wood together). This is followed by serving of traditional wine to the supreme god.
During the celebration, various folk songs, devotional songs and dances were presented by many boys, girls, men and women wearing vibrant traditional attires. The festival also marks the beginning of the new year.
Speaking at the event, Education Minister Thounaojam Basanta Kumar described Manipur as a mini-India as the state has 35 ethnic tribes or communities. He lamented over the forgotten cultural and traditional festivals of different ethnic communities of the state.
But Gaan Ngai festival is successfully preserved till date. There is a need to put in concerted effort to preserve this festival, he added.
He said that the present government is keen to narrow down the gap between hill and valley. With the vision to promote a sense of oneness, the government initiated a language learning programme last year. Under this programme, facilities for learning different dialects are provided for a period of two months. An incentive of Rs 1,000 would be given to those who take this opportunity, he added.
MLA Arunkumar Thangjam, MLA Joykishan and president of Chinikon village, Kangpokpi district, Uchiwa Kabui village and Thoubal district attended the event.