Chiru Deerkai Festival of Chiru Tribe of Manipur

Chiru Deerkai Festival 2011 (photo courtesy: remphung.webs.com)
Chiru Deerkai Festival, also means “Youth festival”, is celebrated by the Chiru community of Manipur. The festival is generally held once in every three years dating back to the 1960, with some interruption in between. The festival is organised with an aim to promote and preserve the rich custom and culture of Chiru people living across the north east region of India.

The festival witnesses colourful cultural displays of the Chiru tribe including the traditional elders festival ‘Phoiba Lia’, festival pertaining to the youth and traditional songs like ‘Chenthi Hlas’.

Chiru tribal community inhabit various districts of Manipur – Senapati, Tamenglong, Thoubal and Churachanpur. The word 'Chiru' means 'the seed of a plant'. In terms of lifestyle and culture, the Chiru tribe have some similarity with the Naga tribal community due to their distinguished physical features.

The community migrated from the Chin Hills which lie further east of Manipur and their population, according to the 1981 census, is 3744. Their mother tongue, Chirrup, belongs to the Koki-Chin group of the Tibeto-Burman family of languages. Besides, they are conversant with the Meitei language and use the Roman as well as Bengali script. Over the years, the Chiru tribe developed a tradition of musical recitals, dancing, quite integrated to the entire culture of Manipur.

Their villages are situated in the valleys and foothills surrounded by thin forests. People of the Chiru tribal community display great craftsmanship in the field of weaving and carpentry. The shawls worn by them have a typical combination of design and cooler which make them distinct. They are non-vegetarians who eat beef and pork. Rice is their staple food and they relish home-made alcoholic drinks.


Ref: 1. remphung.webs.com 2. tribesindia.com

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