The Gaan-Ngai Festival is a significant religious and cultural event for the Zeliangrong Naga communities, who are indigenous to the tri-junction of Assam, Manipur, and Nagaland. This year's five-day celebration began on Wednesday with traditional rituals, including ho-hoing and fire making, to pay homage to the divine. The rest of the festival will be marked by common festivals, dances, and gift exchanges.
- The Gaan-Ngai Festival, which is also important for the Kabui Nagas, is based on the Zeliangrong people's worship of Tingkao Ragwang, the god of the universe.
- It is primarily observed by the Zeliangrong Indigenous religion's followers and devotees of the Tingkao Ragwang Chap-Riak and Heraka cults. The festival is held annually on the 13th day of the Manipuri calendar of Wakching, which falls in December or January.
- It was fixed on this date in 1947 by the Zeliangrong Union, formerly known as the Kabui Samiti.
Gaan-Ngai Festival: A Time for Unity and Peace
- At the opening of this year's Gaan-Ngai Festival, Manipur Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Y Khemchand said that the event promotes messages of peace, friendship, and forgiveness among the people.
- The Zeliangrong Naga communities, numbering around 300,000, come together to celebrate the festival and strengthen their bond of unity and peaceful coexistence.
- In addition to its cultural and religious significance, the Gaan-Ngai Festival has also been recognized by the Government of India as a Tourist Festival of India.
- Visitors to the festival can experience the rich traditions and customs of the Zeliangrong Naga communities, as well as participate in the celebrations.
The Gaan-Ngai Festival is a vital occasion for the Zeliangrong Naga communities, providing an opportunity to honor their religious beliefs and celebrate their unique cultural identity. It is a time for unity, peace, and forgiveness, and it showcases the rich traditions and customs of the Zeliangrong people to the world. So, it is a must visit festival for the people who are interested in the cultural diversity of India.