Yaoshang — Manipur's Holi that is celebrated with a sports festival
While Holi is popular, Manipur celebrates a festival similar to Holi yet pretty differently, and with a sports festival.
India is a land of festivities and Holi is one of the most popular festivals celebrated in the country. The festival of colours makes everyone forget every worry they possess as they continue to dance to the tune of 'Rang Barse' or 'Balam Pichkari' throughout the day.
While Holi is popular and is celebrated with much pomp across the northern and western part of India, the north-eastern state of Manipur celebrates a festival very much similar to Holi yet pretty different.
Going by the name Yaoshang the festival is similar to Holi, in the sense that it too is a festival of colours. The citizens of Manipur immerse themselves in the beauty of Yaoshang for almost a week either in the month of February or March.
The celebrations for Yaoshang usually start on the full-moon day of the Lamda month and are majorly celebrated by the indigenous Meitei people. While much like Holi people celebrate Yaoshang with colours and splashing water over each other using pichkaris and water-balloons, it also has an interesting sports twist.
Over the years Yaoshang has turned from just being a festival of colours and dance to a festival that brings out sporting talents from the grass-root levels. Various sports like spoon racing, mathematical racing, tug of war, soccer, and others are held during the course of the festival.
The sports meet is usually inaugurated at the Kangla fort in Manipur. The sports events have no age and gender restrictions as they are majorly held for recreation.
Popularly known as the 'Holi of Manipur', Yaoshang is much more than that as it combines festival with sports and captures the true essence of the Meiteis.