Kwak Tanba rituals performed in Manipur amidst solemn atmosphere

Kwak Tanba
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The Meitei community in Manipur performed their annual traditional ceremony ‘Kwak Tanba’ or ‘Kwak Jatra’ today in Imphal. This significant ceremony which has a series of rituals, also referred to as ‘Loidam Kumsaba,’ takes place on the 10th day of the Manipuri lunar calendar every year.

At the heart of the ceremony is the symbolic release of a crow by the King of Manipur, a ritual believed to usher in prosperity and good fortune for the state. Following the crow’s release, the prediction of the year’s economic outlook is made by a high ranked priest based on the direction in which the crow flies.

The Kwak Tanba or Kwak Jatra is deeply rooted in Manipur’s indigenous traditions. The event takes place at the Sana Konung, the Royal Palace of Manipur in Imphal, featuring a series of sacred rites, musical performances, and traditional divine dances. The crow-releasing ceremony occurs at Thangapat, the Royal Moat in Imphal.

Due to the ongoing unrest in the state, this year’s Kwak Tanba ritual was conducted with solemnity. The traditional ceremonial proceedings began early in the morning. The titular king, Leishemba Sanajaoba, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP conducted the ritual.

Laljing Purel (Army General), and his contingent sought permission from the King to carry out the ceremony successfully, which was attended by high-ranking officials from the Sana Konung, priests, and priestesses.

In a post on X, Maharaja Sanajaoba Leishemba wrote, “Ritual Program of Kwak Tanba 2023 held at Royal Palace Manipur this morning. Laljing Purel (Army General) along with his contingents approached to Palace for seeking permission from the King to perform the ceremony successfully.”

Unlike previous years, this year’s event was held without loudspeakers, festive celebrations or traditional dances and music.

Despite the restrained atmosphere, the underlying message of hope and prosperity remains at the heart of the Kwak Tanba tradition.

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