Festive Wear during Yaoshang Celebrations

The festive-wear during Yaoshang celebrations in Manipur holds special significance to the Meitei people.

Congregants Sprayed with Pink Colour (2020-03)Incredible India!

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.

Let's take a look at some of local attires!

Woman Dressed for Yaoshang Service (2020-03)Incredible India!

The Brajamai

The festive-wear during Yaoshang holds special significance to the Meitei folk. The Brajamai (womenfolk of the village Braja) are local women who dress as the friends and attendants of Goddess Radha.

Procession to Play Pichkari (2020-03)Incredible India!

They wear pure white traditional garb, covering their heads...

The Brajmai Move to the TempleIncredible India!

...and carry adorned sticks that are believed to have healing properties as they make the procession to the local temple.

Women Participate in the Brajamai Procession (2020-03)Incredible India!

The Brajamais perform Halankar, a dance re-enacting scenes from the mythological story of Lord Krishna and his partner Radha.

Prayer Ceremony in Progress (2020-03)Incredible India!

A prominent scene is where the Brajamais run after the Brajagopis (cowherds of Braja village) with sticks after being teased. 

This part of Yaoshang is quite similar to the re-enactment that happens during the Lathmar Holi celebrations in the state of Uttar Pradesh, where men are teased with sticks by the women.

The Art of the Sword and the Spear (2020-03)Incredible India!

Thang Ta club in Imphal

Thang Ta, an 'art of the sword and spear', is a form of martial arts in Imphal that integrates a variety of external weapons like spears, daggers, and swords with the internal practice of measured breathing. The practice also involves meditative practices and breathing exercises.

The local clubs wear the traditional attire of this art form while carrying the sacred flame during the ritual procession to Kangla fort.

In this version, we see them draping a black cape...

waist-bands and arm-bands...

and shin-guards... while remaining barefeet.

sporting a head gear with support...

Taking Pure Fire from Kangla (2020-03)Incredible India!

Yellow: The Colour of Prosperity

The Meitei women dress in their traditional garb in yellow during the festivities, an auspicious colour that is thought to bring prosperity to the land. 

Yubi Lakpi (2020-03)Incredible India!

Yubi Lakpi, also known as Indian Rugby, is a game played barefoot with two teams representing good and evil, aiming to acquire an oiled coconut. 

The players usually wear either a pair of shorts or their traditional wrap, the langot, and refrain from wearing shirts, quite similar to the game of kabaddi. 

Explore more elements of Holi here

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