Lai Haraoba Meitei Peoples | Manipur
Another important festival of Manipur is Lai-Haraoba and is celebrated in the month of May. This festival is celebrated after the Cheiraoba festival which falls in April. The Lai-Haraoba festival is observed to honor Umang Lai, deity of the sylvan locale of the state. During the festival, men and women dance in front of the idols of gods and goddesses, as part of the custom. The devotees bow to the souls and spirits of their ancestors during the Lai Haraoba festival. The people of Manipur seek eternal blessings of the Almighty and their ancestors.
The word Lai Haraoba means ‘Festivity of the Gods and is a native festival of the Meiteis. Meiteis are the majority ethnic groups of the state of Manipur. The Lai haraoba is the festivity of the Gods. Sanamahi, Pakhangba, Nongpok Ningthou, Leimarel and Panthoibi are some of the major deities and apart from them around 364 Umang Lais or Jungle deities are also worshiped by the Meiteis According to mythical belief, the festival was first held at Koubru Ching. Koubru Ching is a hill situated in the northern end of Manipur. The festival is marked to celebrate the creation of the universe and the recollection of the evolution of plants, animals and human beings. The same tradition and culture has been followed down the ages by the human beings. The main aim is that the people should never forget universe and its origin. Colorful and beautiful traditional dances are performed by young and old and also perform dance drama, enactment of Khamba and Thoibi, the hero and the heroine of a popular folklore. An evening outing by the deity is carried around in a palanquin around the locality.