Monpuri Festivals in Kamalganj
The Bishnupriya Manipuris perform all the important festivals connected with Hinduism, particularly with the cult of Vaisnavism. There are, however, some peculiarities in the performance of some of these festivals by the Bishnupriya Manipuris. The most important festivals of these people are as follows.
1. Bishu (Goodbye old year and welcome new year):
The Bishu festival starts from the last day of the year and continues for seven days. On the first day of the festival, cooked eatables for lunch are exchanged amongst the families of neighborhood. From the evening of that day up to the seventh day, competitions of various games are held amongst the parties of different villages. The principal games played in Bishu are those played with cowries and with Gilla, a flat and round piece of horn or wood.
2. Rath or Kang (Chariot):
Lord Jogannatha's Rathajatra or Kang-festival is performed with great festivity for nine days. On the first and the last days of the festival, Chariot-procession with the idol of Lord Jagannatha is led out. Every evening of this period of nine days, devotional songs, particularly those from Jayadeva's "Gitagovinda", are sung, along with clapping and dancing, by the people in the mandap's or sheds for religious and cultural performances. after the singing of the devotional songs, feasts of Khechuri or hotchpotch are given everyday by the people by turn. Formerly, various cultural competitions were held during this festival.
3. Mera (Holly month):
The most important festival of the Bishnupriya Manipuri's is the Mera festival which continues for a month from the Lakshmi Purnima to the Rasa Purnima. Purnima means full moon. During this period, following activities are performed.
A) Lakshmi Purnima: At this day Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth) Puja held in Bishnupriya Manipuri's house. Young people go out together to collect fruits from neighbors fruit garden for Goddess Lakshmi.
B) Arati: Aratis are performed gorgeously in the evening which are called Senda-Arti, and in the morning which are called Mongola-Arti everyday in the temples. Also there are Arti performances exchange with other villages or cities. Arati is a kind of chanting.
C) Pali: Religious books, specially the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Chaitanny Charitamrita, are recited and explained at every Mandap or any selected place in the every evening.
D) Kartikar Phangna: At this time or in the month of Kartika, competitions of dance with Dhol's or war-drums, Mankang or Jhal's or big cymbals etc. are held almost everyday.
E) Rasha Purnima: This is the greatest festival day for Bishnupriya Manipuri especially for Bangladeshi Bishnupriya Manipuri. At this day Rasa Mela, Rakhual (Lord Sri Krishna play with his cowboy friends at day time), and Rasha (Lord Sri Krishna and Gopinis dance an night), are held in <b>Madhabpur, Upazila Kamalganj in the district of Moulvibazar.