Sajibu Nongma Panba in India in 2025

Sajibu Nongma Panba in India in 2025
Image by Nick Irvine-Fortescue , via Flickr
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Sajibu Nongma Panba
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2025 Manipur Sun, Mar 30 Regional Holiday
2024 Manipur Tue, Apr 9 Regional Holiday
2023 Manipur Wed, Mar 22 Regional Holiday
2022 Manipur Sat, Apr 2 Regional Holiday
2021 Manipur Tue, Apr 13 Regional Holiday

The Sajibu Nongmapanba Festival is the Lunar new year festival of the sanamahism religion

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When is Sajibu Nongma Panba?

Sajibu Nongma Panba is a public holiday in the Indian state of Manipur on the first day of the lunar month of Sajibu, which means it usually falls in April in the western calendar.

Also known as Meetei Cheiraoba or Sajibu Cheiraoba, this is the traditional lunar new year for followers of the Sanamahism religion.

Traditions of Sajibu Nongma Panba

While January 2nd in the west means it is at least 364 days until the next new year, In India, the wait is much shorter as there are a lot of new years to choose from. Two important new years are the lunar new year and the solar new year.

In India, the lunar new year is a few new moons later than the famous one in China and south-east Asia.

In Manipur, both new years are called 'Cheiraoba', so it is helpful that the lunar new year also uses its literal name of Sajibu Nongma Panba ('Sajibu' - the name of the first month, 'Nongma' - the first day of a month, and 'Panba' - to be.)

Sajibu Nongma Panba is celebrated by the Meetei people, the majority ethnic group in Manipur. 

Though the majority of the Meitei people follow Hinduism, the culture and traditions are based on Sanamahism, an animistic, ancestor worshipping, shaman-led religion.

In the Sanamahism religion, the Meitei calendar started in the reign of King Maliya Fambalcha (1359 BC -1329 BC) also known as KoiKoi, who was 25 when he ascended the throne. Thus the calendar starts at 1384 BC. The dating of the Meitei calendar is known as Mari-Fam (MF). This means that 2020 AD is 3384 MF in the Meitei calendar.

As well as heralding the advent of the New Year, the festival is intended to strengthen the bond of love and brotherhood among family members.

On this day, people arrange a joint family feast in which traditional cuisines are offered to local deities at the entrance gates of the houses.

After the meals, people climb up the Cheirao ching hill in Chingmeirong or the tops of nearby hills in the afternoon to offer prayers. The belief is that it will elevate them to greater heights in their worldly life.

According to the Hindu lunar calendar, the lunar new year is celebrated on the same day as in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and many other Indian states. It also marks the start of the civil year among Hindus, particularly in the central Indian states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka.

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