Ritual Festival for Appeasing Ancestral Gods: A Study of
Kanglei Lai-haraoba Festival of Manipur
By Nganbi Chanu
Lai Haraoba is one of the most important indigenous ritual festivals celebrated by the Meitei community of Manipur. It is celebrated to propitiate and please the ancestral deities to get their blessings in return. It depicts the act of creating universe and its objects, and unveils the endless journey of universe through its ritualistic performances. It is celebrated in Manipur since time immemorial and is being continued till today. The festival includes rituals, ceremonial, dance, music, oral literatures (through hymn and songs) etc. which are handed down from one generation to another. It is inseparably linked with the evolution of human beings, how they took to settlement by satisfying their universal basic needs of food, clothing and shelter by cultivating, building houses, wearing, etc. The paper shows the significance of the Lai Haraoba in Manipuri Society and discusses Kanglei Haraoba and its special features. The finding presents the festival’s unique PreVaisnivite (Hindu) worldview, which in its aesthetic sensitivity discusses the core of Manipuri culture.