Values and Traditions | Milaap

Values and Traditions

He looked out the window, the curtains tinting his face in red. “Hi! I bought you chocolates.” , I said. He ignored me but accepted my gift. The boy was dressed in a white kurta, dhoti, and a blue headwear. The little bundle of joy refused to stay at one place. It seemed as if he has acquired some kind of rebellion.

It is astounding to come across new traditions each and every day. After the birth of a child, ceremonies are performed to mark the growth and development of the child's life. In Manipur, this ceremony is referred as Nahutpa or Chura Karan. This auspicious event is performed when the child reaches the age of three or five years. The Nahutpa ceremony of a child at the age of three years is understood to be of a great consequence.
The ceremony is being executed at the courtyard of the house by assembling a Mandap. It is necessary to clean the surrounding areas prior to the occurrence of the ceremony.

In addition to this, it is essential to perform Sankirtan on that Mandap. I noticed an altar and iratphu (a brass pot) near the mandap. My colleague informed me “It is mandatory to worship mei-iratphu (the goddess of fire) during this ceremony.”

The mandap was surrounded by four plantains, four small bamboos, and four sugarcane plants. When I inquired about those, I was enlightened, “These four pillars represent four gods of four directions, namely- Marjing, Koubru, Thangjing, and Wangbrel. For this ceremony, firewood is acquired from seven different kinds of trees and then offered to fire god. On behalf of the family, the priests perform the puja to worship and pray for the welfare, health and long life of the child.”

The boy’s head was shaved by the time I met him. Certain rituals were followed as the child took his bath after the shaving of the head. Three girls poured the water from three earthen pots. The water was fetched from a nearby river or pond the previous night. The water was poured through a white piece of cloth spread over the head of the child.
After the puja, the ear of the child was pricked. His grandmother made him wear a gold earring. The boy’s father then paid obeisance to god.

“You have to take off your shoes. We will eat now.” my colleague informed me, as I started taking off my shoes. After the ceremony, a grand feast was arranged for all relatives and invitees of the function. We all sat on bamboo mats and Manipuri delicacies were served to us.

As I was wearing my shoes, I summoned the boy, “Stand still. I want to click a picture.” The rebel is suddenly shy now.