Facts about Manipur's Yaoshang festival !

#1. Thabal Chongba is a popular Manipuri folk dance associated with the festival of Yaoshang or Holi in India.

#2. Gender segregation is strict in the Meitei society of Manipur. This is why many young boys and girls — who otherwise would not dare express intimacy in public – are allowed, during the Thabal Chongba, to hold hands and dance with a boy or girl of their choice in front of parents and society, without fear of rebuke.

#3. Traditionally, the festival begins with the symbolic burning of a Yaoshang (a small hut built with bamboo and thatch) in the evening followed by the Naka-theng, during which children go from house to house in the Leikai (locality) to collect money for their Yaoshang festivities like buying colours and other paraphernalia.

#4. Both young men and women participate in this dance by holding hands and dance in a big circle around lit tube lights to the tunes of a particular pattern for four to five hours. Generally, a pattern of music continues for an hour with 15-minute intervals.

#5. Thabal Chongba literally means ‘the full moon dance’ and is performed on roads and grounds in every locality of Manipur during the five nights of Holi or Yaoshang festivities.