Imphal, October 20 2021: Mera Houchongba, the festival which exemplifies oneness and brotherhood among people of different ethnic communities of Manipur was celebrated with pomp, gaiety and traditional fervour at Lainingthou Sanamahi Temple complex, Haying Khongban today.
The celebration was graced by Chief Minister N Biren Singh and Rajya Sabha MP Leishemba Sanajaoba as chief guest and president respectively.
State Planning Board Deputy Chairman L Rameshwor Meetei, former Minister RV Mingthing, All India PRO of RSS Sunil Despande, Assam Zone Pracharak Pramukh Ashokan Kusaliyat also attended the programme.
Conduct of important age-old rituals, pot lannaba (exchange of gifts) and presentation of cultural items of different communities were the highlights of the celebration.
Other important rituals like Mera Men Tongba and Yenkhong Tamba were also performed at Sana Konung (Royal Palace) in the morning.
N Biren Singh exchanged gifts with RV Mingthing while Sunil Despande exchanged gifts with former president of Tangkhul Naga Long Hopingson Shimray.
Maharaja Sanajaoba Leishemba also exchanged gifts with Ningthoupham village chief BK John Thangal.
At the occasion, N Biren Singh stated that Mera Houchongba is celebrated at the State level since 2017.Earlier, different organisations and institutions used to celebrate the festival independently, the Chief Minister said and added that the celebration, however, has been toned down this year due to COVID-19 pandemic.
N Biren Singh said that unity between hill and valley people had strengthened in the past four and half years with the coming of the new Government.
Recalling that people of hill districts brought vegetables for valley people when the lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic was imposed last year, the Chief Minister observed that the gesture showed the affection hill people have for their brothers in the valley.
The Chief Minister then urged all to work together for a united Manipur and India.
All India PRO of RSS Sunil Despande stated that such cultural festivals are also celebrated in other States too with some worshipping the water while others pray to Mother Earth.
“May this festival strengthen the bond of hills and valley people,” he prayed.
The celebration was jointly organised by Lainingthou Sanamahi Temple Board and Uttra Shanglen Sana Konung (Royal Palace) .