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Current Affairs

Traditional flag-hoisting ceremony of Manipur

Date: 23 February 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Many candidates fighting the assembly elections in Manipur are carrying our traditional flag hoisting ceremony.

 

Background

The flag-hoisting ceremony is unique to Manipur and cuts across ethnicities, religion and political parties.

 

Details

  • The flag-hoisting is usually held in the courtyard of the candidate’s home on an auspicious date in the calendar. 

  • The scale of ceremony varies but it mainly involves the candidate hoisting the party flag, followed by a prayer by a priest and blessings by community elders.

 

Ceremony

  • A practice called Athenpot Thinba is part of flag-hoisting ceremony in Imphal valley, which is mainly dominated by Meitei community.

  • The community women carry a variety of fruits and vegetables, rice, traditional snacks and flowers, and deposit them at the base of the party flagpole. Other gifts are also given.

 

Athenpot

  • Athenpot usually refers to an offering that includes a mix of items, such as food and flowers. Thinba refers to drop or present.

  • The practice is followed even during traditional festivals such as Lai Haraoba, and certain weddings.

 

Ritual

  • After providing Athenpot to the candidate,the candidate can interact with the people, or deliver a speech.

  • The practice differs from community to community. Among Meiteis, it involves a puja but among Christians a pastor delivers a sermon. It may be followed by singing of hymns.

 

Significance

  • The ceremony indicates the candidature of a person. It may also indicate the popularity of the candidate by the number of people attending the ceremony.

  • It also aims to get blessings from people and community elders before start of campaigning.

 

Importance of flag

  • It may have evolved from a belief that those who seek power must especially keep the flag in reverence.

  • The flags hold a place of importance in the political and religious life of Manipur’s history. The practice may have evolved from it.