Yubi Lakpi: The Indian Rugby

The traditional Meitei game of Yubi Lakpi is known as the Indian rugby and is played during Yaoshang festivities, the spring celebrations in the state of Manipur, India.

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The spring festival of Holi is celebrated by the native Meitei tribe in Manipur as Yaoshang, and lasts for over five days. Yaoshang is one of the most important festivals in the state and is celebrated with colour and fervour.

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The spring festival of Holi is celebrated by the native Meitei tribe in Manipur as Yaoshang, and lasts for over five days. Yaoshang is one of the most important festivals in the state and is celebrated with colour and fervour.

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Yubi Lakpi

Yubi Lakpi, also known as Indian rugby is played during the Yaoshang festivities. 

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A seven-a-side game of traditional football, Yubi Lakpi has a few notable similarities to rugby, but isn’t related in any way to the game.

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It is played with an oiled coconut instead of a ball, and Yubi Lakpi literally translating to ‘coconut snatching’. 

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Team God vs Team Evil

Players are divided into two teams, ‘Team God’ and ‘Team Evil’.
The outcome of the game is thought to signify the land’s prosperity for the rest of the year. 

Deciding win

If Team God wins, it is thought that there will be an abundance of food, prosperity, peace and happiness in the land.

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An official game is played at the Yaoshang festival of temple Shree Shree Bijoy Govindaji ground, in the presence of erstwhile royals.

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Players play barefoot, and wearing either a pair of shorts, a langot, or the traditional wrap, and no shirt. They smear their bodies with oil, like the coconut, making it difficult for the other teams to catch them.

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Playing the Game

To start the game, the referee tosses the coconut in the air and the players jump into action, individually trying to score as many points as possible by scoring a goal. 

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The Yubi Lakpi Winner

Though a team sport, there can only be one winner, with each player playing for themselves. The winner of the game receives an award, often a monetary token.

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The winner, along with the coconut, is then carried by the rest of the team all the way to the temple, for a holy dip of the temple waters.

The Winner of the Game (2020-03)Incredible India!

Explore more elements of Holi celebrations here

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