Manipur is full of festivals. Hardly a week passes without any occasion of fun and frolic much to the delight of the tourists who visit the north eastern state during the winter season. Ningol Chakouba festival is one of the most wonderful festival of the Meiteis which comes up on second day of the lunar month of Hiyanggei (October-November). The social festival is basically a get together of the married off girls along with their children who visit their parental house to be received with feast. With the passage of time, it has become a significant occasion of the Pangals or the Manipuri Muslims to revive the family bonds in this festival.
Literally, the married women (Ningol) are invited (Chakouba) to their parent’s house. The count down begins as soon as the married off daughters and sisters are invited offering them a card crafted from betel leaf to be rolled over betel nut.
On the auspicious day, dressed in traditional attires, the ningols dress visit their family members in the parental houses with sweets and fruits and enjoy a feast apart from receiving gifts. They are served with fish, meat item iromba, champhut and kanghou. The Meiteis have a beautiful story where the festival was believed to have originated. According to what they believe, the goddess Jamuna invited Her brother and death god Yamaraj to attend a feast. They originally called it Piba Chakouba festival. “Piba” stands son. Later King Chandrakriti encouraged the visits of the sisters’ to their parental homes. The trend was changed. His sisters were invited which was why the Piba Chakouba became Ningol Chakouba.