Yawol Shang – Manipur’s very own Holi

When we talk about Holi celebrations, it is mostly the northern states of India that take up all the limelight. Rarely do we come to know of Holi celebrations in other parts of India which are also celebrated with much enthusiasm and vigor. Digging up some information on the internet, we found out about holi celebrations in one of the most unexpected places – Manipur’s Yawol Shang.


Were we even taught this in school? Yes, Holi is celebrated in Manipur and it’s not a 2 day gala festival. It is celebrated for 5 consecutive days.  In 2024, the momentous festival of Holi will be observed on Monday, March 25, 2024, while a day before Holi, which is celebrated as Holika Dahan or Choti Holi, will be marked on Sunday, March 24.

Rituals of Yawol Shang

Popularly known as ‘Yawol Shang, Holi in Manipur is about worshipping Manipur God ‘Pakhangba’. The celebrations start after sunset with the tradition of burning a hut called  ‘Yaosang Mei Thaba,’ which is very similar to the tradition of Holika Dahan among Hindus. The tradition of burning a hut is followed by another local tradition called ‘nakatheng’ where the children in the village go door to door asking for donations. 


However, what sets apart holi celebrations in Manipur from the rest of the country is the five-day-long sports festival organized throughout the state. These games are simple and fun to play.


Local clubs are mainly responsible for organizing these games. On the last day of the festival, a half marathon is organized which is supposed to be an unmissable part of the festival. 

Another highlight of this festival is “Thabal Chongba” (Dancing in the moonlight), where males and females from various places come together and dance in circles, holding hands. 

While these traditions are very different from the rest of India, but these surely bring to your notice a very different side that is there to India, a side that we weren’t even aware of. Be a part of something different and broaden your holi definition this year. Clearly, there is more to holi than Rang Bharse Bheege Chunar Wali

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Last Updated on February 27, 2024 by Shabari Shankar

About the author

Harpreet's profound fascination with exploration blossomed against India's rich heritage and cultural tapestry. Leveraging a background in journalism, she crafts evocative tales that interlace historical depth with contemporary travel experiences. Her words resonate with an inherent passion for discovering offbeat destinations and unearthing the untold stories that shape them.

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