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Sunday, 15 January 2012

Tripura's Meitei community celebrates Lai Haraoba Festival

Agartala, Jan 8 (ANI): After almost four decades Manipuri Meiteis residing in Agartala gathered to celebrate the Lai Haraoba Festival.

Dressed in their traditional attires, hundreds of Meitei community members gathered in Agartala city to celebrate Lai Haraoba that literally means 'pleasing the Gods'.

The festival is the biggest key to understanding the religion, culture and history of the Meitei Manipuri.

It is celebrated through oral literature, music and dance, ceremonial and rituals, which present a unique pre-Hindu Vaishnav religion of the Manipuri people.

Some believe it is festival of Shiva and his consort Parvati.

With peace and normalcy returning to Tripura, the festival serves as an example of amity and harmony among the people of the region.

"We are celebrating this festival in Tripura after 40 years. Earlier, it was celebrated by the royal dynasty, but now we have organized it. Our elders remember this festival, but our aim is to make the young generation aware of their culture and heritage. It will help bring peace and unity," said Abhiram Singh, one of the festival organizers.

The legend is that the gods held the first Lai Haraoba on the Koubru hill in Manipur.

The people of Tripura thronged the venue to have a glimpse of the classical dances and spectacular martial arts of Manipur.

"I have not seen this festival earlier and now it is being celebrated in Agartala we are able to learn about our cultural heritage. I think every youth should know about it," said Mary, a participant.

The revival of the age-old festival not only makes people aware of their rich cultural heritage but also sends out a message of 'peace' and 'unity'. (ANI)

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