Ukhrul: Despite repeated appeals from the authorities concerned, including from Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself who urged people to avoid public gatherings due to the the massive coronavirus pandemic, people in large numbers thronged Phalee village in Mannipur’s Ukhrul district to celebrate Liuwtoh Phanit, a seed-sowing festival, on Friday.
The festival is also about invoking God’s blessings for the ensuing agricultural season and ward off natural calamities for a healthy harvest. The village came alive with resounding rhythms of indigenous drums and folk instruments.
Situated at a distance of around 60 km from state capital Imphal, the hilly village with over 800 households celebrated the seed sowing festival-cum-cultural event, considered to be one of the largest and biggest of the state.
According to village documents, the festival is being celebrated since time immemorial. Till date, locals celebrate the day with high spirit and deep-rooted cultural activities.
Speaking with EastMojo, village acting headman RA Wungnaoyo said that the festival is being celebrated since the late-15th century.
A series of cultural activities, folk dances and music and traditional sports like tug-of-war and indigenous wrestling were organised as part of the festival.
On the special occasion, locals, both — women and men — make sure to adorn their colourful and rich traditional attire, giving a shout-out to their ancestral arts and other manifestations.
But what caught everyone’s attention during the event was the folk song presented by the four troupes of the village in a series. Each team participated by at least 50 members sang in one sound and rhythms was, indeed, a performance with class.
The song, locally known as Luira Laa or celebrating song, depicts the beauty or charm of the days of youth. The song, which is sung in a group by clapping hands together, positioning in an encircling manner, is more or less related to agricultural activities.
Besides the cultural activities, the women in the village also showcased various organic products and hand-woven handicrafts as well as local artifacts, an opportunity to earn for a livelihood.