Manipur is a place of abundant natural beauty and a colorful society of various ethnic communities who have lived together since ancient times with their different cultures. The people of Manipuri throughout their history have observed a number of social festivals and ceremonies that unite them with bonds of love and responsibility.
Ningol Chakouba is one of the famous festivals of the state which falls on the second lunar day of Hayangi month of Manipuri calendar.
Ningol means ‘married woman’ and Chakouba means ‘Eid feast’. So this festival is where married women are invited to their parents’ house for a feast.
The invitation comes from the son(s) of the Nangul’s parents’ family, usually a week in advance.
It strengthens the bond of love between brothers and sisters, daughters and parents of a family.
The history of Nangol Chakouba dates back to the reign of King Nongada Lauren Pakingba in Manipur. Queen Lisanna invited her brother Poirier to the king’s palace once a year. Hence, it was known as Piba (brother/son) Chakouba instead of Ningol Chakouba. But this tradition changed in the 19th century during the reign of King Chidrakrati Singh (1831-1886).
He invited his sisters to the feast because it was difficult for him to visit their place in one day.
Thus, the tradition has since evolved into Ningol Chakouba and continues to be an integral part of Manipur’s rich culture and heritage.
On this auspicious day of Ningol Chukuba, married daughters of every family with children come to their parents’ house in a festive mood and with great emotion to reunite with other family members.
Every woman wears the best traditional and ethnic dresses, shares fruits and sweets with the family and cherishes the beautiful childhood moments she once spent with her brothers, sisters and parents.
The preparation of Ningol Chukuba actually starts in the coming days. Every family member eagerly waits for this day throughout the year to meet their daughters and sisters with joy and excitement.
They go to the bazaar to buy essentials, especially food and drink to prepare for the feast and clothes to offer to their beloved sisters and daughters. They prepare a lot of delicious and healthy food for a grand feast.
The menu offers a variety of dishes such as saring (an expensive fish), naga-thongba (fish curry) made from roho etc., nga-agoba (a mixed stir-fry of potato and fish pieces), erumba ( Manipuri Chutney) are a must.
Other food items include Laphu Eromba (banana stem preparation), Chamfit (steamed vegetables), Soibam Thongba (a fermented bamboo shoot curry), Uti (classic Manipuri vegetarian dish) etc.
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