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Wish you a very happy and prosperous Phagua

Holi the festival of colour and joy is celebrated with great enthusiasm by all. This festival is celebrated in different ways by different communities. Our Bishnupriya Manipuri community also has its own way of celebrating this colourful festival.

By Ranita Sinha, Kolkata

Holi or Phagua is a major festival of the Bishnupriya Manipuri community. In the villages on the day of 'Phagu Purnima' most of the individuals fast during day time. On that day the 'Firal' (Bishnupriya Manipuri holy flag), put on each and every house of the village are collected. With the poles of the 'Firal' a tower like structure with a hollow inside is built. The structure is called the 'Jarma". The 'Jarma' is built on the empty paddy field.

After sunset all the villagers irrespective of gender, age and status assemble near the 'Jarma' with flowers and bhog (fruits, sweets etc) to offer to the Lord. The village priest than appears at the site with the idol of the village temple and prepares for the puja inside the empty space under the 'Jarma'.

After the preparation is complete the priest performs the puja amidst 'Arati' and other devotional songs sung by the villagers. Once the puja ritual is complete the 'Jarma' is set on fire. Then all the villagers circles round the fire thrice with folded hands with the prayer that all sufferings may be burnt along with the holy fire and that a new and prosperous life be ahead of everyone. Once it is complete the young boys and girls put colour on the foreheads of the elders and take their blessings by touching their feet. Then everyone present their put different types of colours on one another.

When everybody is overdosed with fun they return to their home and break their fast with a well cooked vegetarian meal. After that for next five days holi is celebrated in the villages.

During these five days, people of the villages form groups and go from house to house singing 'Hari Naam' and other devotional songs and collect money. This is called 'Hari-Kayani'. The people who go for 'Hari-kayani' do not enter the houses. They stand in the court yard and sing the songs. Once the singing is complete they utter 'Hari Hari Bola, A Hari'. Then the lady of the house brings some money in a 'Selpak' (a standing dish used to serve paan) and put in the floor in front of the group. The group collect the money and leave.

For five days different groups of 'Hari-kayani' visit the houses. There is fun in the atmosphere for those five days. The money collected are later offered for developmental works of the respective village temples. The younger generation again sometimes have grand feasts with the money collected by them.

Thus, in this way the Bishnupriya Manipuri people celebrate their Phagua in the villages. The article is just an attempt by me to recollect my memories of 'Phagua', which, once I celebrated long back in my parental village. As such, the terms used may not be accurate. Please feel free to point out the errors.

Wish all the Bishnupriya Manipuri people a very Happy and Prosperous Phagua.

Interested! Read more

Hori Bola E Hori by Ashim Singha

Sri Sri Bhubaneshwar Sadhu Thakur by Ranita Sinha

Look Beyond by Ranita Sinha

Bishnupriya Manipuri Status in Google by Rishikesh Sinha



  1. I like to thank Ranita for her continuous efforts in promoting Bishnupriya Manipuri Culture. The article on Fagua is another example of her writing skill. Fagu is no doubt a great festival for us, the writing really reminds me the childhood memories... it, is however a matter of disappointment that sll those cultural observance are now on the wane bcz of changes in the ideas of social values in the name of modernism.

    hori bola e hori...

  2. hello giri \ githani..

    say..... mahaprabhu janma hari hari bola..... e ..hari..


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