Every year, in November, Manipuri families come together to celebrate their daughters.
Ningol Chakouba is one of the biggest festivals in Manipur. It is celebrated on the full moon day of the month of November every year. In Manipuri, “Ningol” means daughter and “Chakouba” means invitation for lunch, in the mother’s house. On this occasion, girls, who married and lived outside their parent’s home, are invited for a great feast in their honor. The son of the family formally does the invitation one week in advance, to his sister.
On the day of Ningol Chakouba, the daughters thus visit their “mapam” (mother’s house), wearing their finest clothes and bringing fruits and sweets. Their families usually cook expensive fish and girls receive gifts and blessings from their family.
This festival is celebrated by the Meitei community of Manipur – which comprises Hindus, Muslims and Christians and accounts for 60% of Manipur’s population.
Although not being part of the Meitei community, Achungmei enjoys Ningol Chakouba. She is usually invited by her neighbors to celebrate the festival along with them, and she appreciates the spirit of the festival: “I think everyone should celebrate this festival, because it strengthen relationships within the family, and with daughters who are often living far away”.
In modern India, it is unheard that a woman officiated as the priest of a religious event.
Many applications later, hundreds of people continue to suffer.