In Manipuri, 'Ningol' means daughter and 'Chakouba' means invitation for a lunch in the mother's house. 'Ningol Chakouba' is a special day for the married daughters in Manipur.This is a very special day for all the people of Manipur. This day is special because this festival shows the love between the brothers and their sister.The festival of Ningol chakouba is an extremely loved and widely celebrated festival among the Meities community. The married women, who are married to distant places return to parent’s house along with their children.
Ningol Chakouba is a social festival of merriment celebrated in the state of Manipur. It is mainly celebrated by the Meiteis or the Vaishnavites. The significance of the festival can be well understood by its name itself. The meaning of “Ningol” is married women and “Chakouba” is going to parent’s house. Thus, the festival involves the married women going to their parent’s house.
On this special day, a grand feast of 'iinjang mathen-mathen' (various cuisines) is prepared in the honor of the daughter at her 'mapam' (mother's house). The invitation is formally done generally a week ahead by the brothers to pay a visit for the lunch.
On 'Ningol Chakouba' married daughters visit their 'mapam' (mother's house) wearing their finest and bring fruits and sweets for the family. 'Kabok Khoidum', 'Rasogullas',' Samosa', 'Kachoari', 'Sev Bhujia' are some of the special snacks that ningols gets it for the family.
And along with the other fruits, coconut is a must. Daughters have lunch along with all the family members. The lunch session is usually long as it is always accompanied with chitchat. Daughters are presented gifts by the parents and brothers.
While receiving the gifts from the brothers, younger ones are blessed by elder ones for well being and prosperity in life. And at the end of the day everyone bid goodbye to the happy ningol who is made special on this occasion.
For family having many married ningols, a grand feast prepared by a 'bamon' (the cook) is arranged and everyone have the lunch together and it's again almost like a 'mapam chakouba' (marriage reception).
'Sareng', one of the expensive fish is the favourite of the day for many ningols. 'Rohu' again another type of fresh water fish is also enjoyed by many as fried item or curry. 'Catla' and 'Grass Carp' too is prepared in curry form.
At their parent’s place, the women are pampered with food, gifts and total comfort. Mothers are seen preparing lavish and extensive meals for their daughters. Parents warmly welcome their daughters and grand children.
The reason behind the fondness of the festival is the effect it has on strengthening the family ties. It is basically a source of family reunion and get- togethers. The festival proudly portraits the affection parents have for their daughters and vice-versa. The women in Manipur fondly wait for this festival giving them a reason to reunite with their parents living far away. Earlier mainly observed by the Meities community in the present times this festival is observed by the Pangals or the Manipuri Muslims to some extent.