Imphal: The five-day Yaoshang festival came alive with almost all the COVID-19 restrictions lifted in Manipur. The festival, which now-a-day is celebrated in different ways by organizing sports events in each locality, began today.
Imphal’s Kangla Fort was crowded like each year as hundreds thronged the historic place to light the “sacred flame” to inaugurate annual local sports competitions to be held during the five-day festival.
With torch rallies converging in the fort from different directions, traffic jams were witnessed in almost all the streets across Imphal. Such a crowded scene was not seen in the past two years owing to numerous restrictions imposed by the state government in the wake of the spread of the COVID-19 in the state. However, as the COVID-19 situation has improved and the the state government has lifted almost all the restrictions, the spirit of the festival came alive again after two years.
Yaoshang is the biggest festival in Manipur which coincides with Holi festival and it will be celebrated over the next five days.
Sports and entertainment activities which were suspended in the past two years due to stringent measures to check spread of the coronavirus came alive as the same activities are being organised besides religious fervor and merrymaking.
The actual celebration of the festival began in the evening with the burning of traditional Yaoshang (a small thatch hut). It was followed by ‘Nakatheng’ – an age-old tradition of house-to-house donation by children. However, with organizing games and sports becoming popular of late, the festival begins from morning with sports activities.
Inaugurating the sports competition by lighting with the sacred flame from a temple of inside the Kangla Fort is also becoming very popular in the last few years in this tiny sport crazy state of the Northeast.
Meanwhile, newspapers published from Imphal will stay off the stands for full five days. Business establishments, government offices and banks remain closed.