Sajibu Nongma Panba

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Sajibu Nongma Pānba (aka "Meitei Cheiraoba) is the lunar new year festival of the sanamah people religion of Manipur


Sajibu Nongma Panba

By Stuti.MyWeb

King Bheigyachandra (1760 A.D. Saka year 1682) of Manipur introduced this festival on the day of Charak Pujah. Sajibu (April) is the first month of the Meetei calendar. According to Cheitharol Kumbaba (Royal Chronicles) – Reign of Meidingu (king) Lairen Naophangba say 428-518 BC – Cheiraoba is an indication of end, of the year and beginning of a new year. SanamahiLaining lup’s Sajibu Cheiraoba is based on lunar year and the later is of the solar year.

A lunar calendar is a calendar that is based on cycles of the lunar phase. The only widely used purely lunar calendar is the Islamic calendar or Hijri calendar whose year always consists of 12 lunar months. A feature of a purely lunar year, on the Islamic calendar model, is that the calendar ceases to be linked to the seasons, and drifts each solar year by 11 to 12 days, and comes back to the position it had in relation to the solar year approximately every 33 Islamic years. It is used predominantly for religious purposes. In Saudi Arabia, it is also used for commercial purposes.

On the other hand, a tropical year (also known as a solar year), for general purposes, is the length of time that the sun takes to return to the same position in the cycle of seasons, as seen from earth; for example, the time from vernal equx to vernal equinox, or from summer solstice to summer solstice. The word “tropical” comes from the Greek tropikos meaning “turn”. (tropic, 1992) Thus, the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn mark the extreme north and south latitudes where the sun can appear directly overhead, and where it appears to “turn” in its annual seasonal motion. Because of this connection between the tropics and the seasonal cycle of the apparent position of the Sun, the word “tropical” also its name to the “tropical year.” The earliest Chinese, Hindus, Greeks, and others made approximate measures of the tropical year.

On Cheiraoba day, a responsible King’s servant riding a horse binding a bell and flag on a wooden pole giving the message on the streets and celebration of happiness of New Year so called “Sajibu Cheiraoba”. In the book “Kanglei Ningou Chahi” – Message from Pana – Mari – Four sides – Khurai, Khwai, Wangkhei and Yaiskul, the men wearing different clothes of different Panas riding the horse tiding bell on the pole shouting in the same manner the end of year and beginning of new year as “Sajibu Lakyel Taiba”.

Meidingu Khyamba in 1467-1508 the way of giving message by riding the horse and shouting in the streets have stopped and it became known as “Cheithaba” – The King selected a person who takes an oath on that day of Sajibu to accept all the burdens of the king and his subjects that are to be fallen in the coming year. The first named “Cheithaba” is called “Hiyanglei.”

From this year onwards a book started to write named as “Cheitharol Kumbaba” and such Cheithaba had been honored by putting his name in the horoscope of every child born during the year. In this manner though the name has been changed as “Cheiraoba” the celebration and festival have still been performing. In early days, the Cheithaba had been given award of cloth, one pari of paddy field and exempted from other duties of the state. During the reign of Sir Churachand Maharaja instead of awards and others the “Cheithaba” was given Rs. 10,000 and since then no record for such monetary award is known.

Charak Pujah, which is celebrated on April 14 every year, is a very enchanting flok festival of the Southern Belt of Bangladesh and West Bengal. It is also known as “Nil Puja”. The believers of the Hindu religion celebrate this on the last day of Chaitra (Chaitra songkranti). Hence, the Meetei Sajibu Cheiraoba is an original traditional festival of Manipur and Charak Pujah or the second Cheiraoba of April 14 was adopted from Bengal during the time of King Bhagyachandra.

Sent by Khelbas Meetei

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