Sajibu Nongmapanba (Cheiraoba)

Sajibu Nongmapanba (Cheiraoba)

Manipur is a beautiful state in northeast India. The state is known for its mesmerizing natural beauty and rich heritage. The state celebrates many festivals as part of its religious aspirations and culture. One of the most prominent festivals is Sajibu Nongmapanba, also known as Cheiraoba. The Cheiraoba festival of Manipur marks the beginning of the traditional New Year and is celebrated with great enthusiasm and pleasure. On this day, the locals send each other warm greetings, clean their homes, decorate them, worship their God, and visit their relatives. People also gather together and climb the closest mountain slope top symbolizing the ascent of human progress.

Cheiraoba is celebrated on the first day of the Sajibu lunar month, the first month of the Manipuri or Meitei lunar calendar. As per the western calendar, the Cheiraoba festival mainly falls in late March or early April. Find the detailed information on Sajibu Nongmapanba below:

Origin, History, and Significance of Sajibu Nongmapanba (Cheiraoba)

Sajibu Cheiraoba festival is the traditional New Year for the people following the Sanamahism religion in Manipur. Though Sanamahism's religious followers traditionally celebrated it, now people of all faiths celebrate this. The name Sajibu Nongmapanba was derived from three Manipuri words- Sajibu meaning the first month of the year, Nongma meaning the first date of a month, and Panba meaning to be. So together, they represent- to be on the first day of the first Meitei lunar month.

According to the Sanamahism religion's followers, the Meitei New year or Sajibu Nongmapanba origin dates back to King Maliya Fambalcha, also known as Koi-Koi, in 1359-1329 BC. Koi-Koi became the king at the young age of 25 years. Since then, the Meitei calendar or Cheiraoba, known as Mari-Fam, started. So 1359 BC will be 25 Mari-Fam, and 2021 AD will be 3385 MF as per the Meitei calendar. So koi-Koi's birthday was taken as the base or 00 MF, and that day became the New Year as per the Meitei lunar calendar.

The Cheiraoba festival of Manipur signifies the advent of the New Year or a new beginning. The festival is celebrated to strengthen the relations or bonds of love and brotherhood among families, relatives, and neighbors. The Manipuri people believe what happens on the day of Cheiraoba occurs throughout the year. So meeting their extended families and friends, gifting each other presents, feasting together, and being happy on this day, will result in the same happening for the rest of the year. Hence, on the day of the Cheiraoba festival, Manipur people arrange traditional cuisine feasts for their families, relatives, and friends. First, they offer food to their local deities at their homes' entrances and then serve it to guests. After enjoying the meal, people with their guests climb to the top of a nearby hill to offer prayers. They believe climbing the hill elevates them to great heights in their lives.

When is Sajibu Nongmapanba (Cheiraoba) Celebrated

Cheiraoba is celebrated every year on the first date of the month of Sajibu, which is the first month of the Meitei lunar calendar. In 2021 Sajibu Cheiraoba fell on 14th April.

How is Sajibu Nongmapanba (Cheiraoba) Celebrated, and Where to Go

In Manipur, Sajibu Cheiraoba is celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm. The locals clean and decorate their homes, buy new clothes, invite their families and friends for a feast of local cuisines, worship their local deities, and then, after dinner, climb the nearby hilltop to offer prayers. Married women visit their parents' houses to wish them good luck and prosperity and give family and relatives gifts. The Cheiraoba festival is also celebrated by performing 'Thabal Chongba,' the locals' traditional folk dance. Several localities organize the dance event, where locals dance and welcome the New Year with great joy.

Sajibu Cheiraoba festivities can be seen across Manipur, specifically in Imphal. The following places are worth visiting for the Cheiraoba festival:

  1. Imphal- Imphal is the hub of Cheiraoba festival celebrations. Several fairs, events, and other cultural programs are organized to celebrate the Manipuri New Year. The day is a public holiday; the locals visit their families, organize feasts, and enjoy various events.
  2. Kongba- This small village, east of Imphal, is part of the traditional Cheiraoba celebrations. It is a week-long celebration with many rituals and ceremonies from the day of Cheiraoba.
  3. Chinmeirong- The place is the Cheirao ching hill location, which the Manipuri people climb on the Cheiraoba festival. The bottom of the hill is lined with stalls selling food, craft, toys, etc. Locals climb the mountain, offer prayers, and buy from the stalls.

If you are planning to enjoy the Cheiraoba festival and would love to take a vacation or explore any of these places for this grand festival, redBus can take you to your desired destination. Booking your online bus ticket via redBus is easy and convenient. Download the redBus mobile app or visit the redBus India website to book your bus tickets and participate in the Sajibu Cheiraoba festivities.

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