Comes Lamta, time to drive evils
Pothashang News Service : Imphal, February 17, 2018: Manipur Meitei community, the major indigenous group in the state today observes Lamta Thangja, the first Thangja (Saturday) of Lamta (last month of the year in the Meitei Lunar calendar) with rituals and offerings to drive away the evil spirits so that the New Year begins in Sajibu (first month) in peace.
The Day is observed with the Saroi Khangba rituals led by Meieti priest and priestess participated by the women folk of the locality. The Saroi Khangba is performed at the junctions where three roads meet.
In the early morning households contribute items from their kitchen like rice and vegetables, and money to conduct the ritual. The performer beats drum and play Pena (music) and dance with sword and Tame (a tool use to weave cloth) to drive off the evil spirits believed to be present amid the village. Uncooked food and flowers were offered along with money to appease the soul thirsty evil spirits and asked to leave.
While the rituals are being formed whoever comes across the ritual site has to offer money or even a leaf or grass from his/her possession so that they are not harmed by the evil spirits.
It is also believed that Saroi Khangba is performed that so that evil thoughts inspired by evil souls would vanish and the New Year begins in absence of evil spirits and evil thoughts.
In connection with the Lamta Thangja, the traditional Manipur has a story called Henjunaha, ayoung lover who was killed by Saroi-Ngaroi (evil spirits) on the way he went to meet his fiancée Lailourembi. Henunaha hesitate his mother’s advice not to cross the home gate cautioning him of presence of Saroi-Ngaroi on the Lamta Thangja.
The legendry story cautions of existence of evil spirits in the Lamta month especially on Saturdays when the clout of the evils demanding for humans as food dominates.
After the offering were made to Saroi Ngaroi. People offer cooked food to the deity, Ibudhou of the village who protect the village. People share the food together.
The remains of offered rice were provided to each families of the village. The rice is scattered at the home yard in the evening so that evil spirits stay away from the residence.
The second Saurday is also observed similarly. In the later Lamta Saturdays Saroi Khangba are observed but limited. The Saroi Khangba is also observed during Lai Haraoba festival to ward off the evil spirits.
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