Gone but not Forgotten: Death Rituals among the Meiteis of Manipur

The present study attempts to describe and analyse the death rituals of the Meitei people, a major ethnic group of Manipur, one of the north-eastern states of India. Observation and interview methods were employed for data collection during fieldwork from January to December 2016. There are five distinct stages in the death ritual of the Meitei people: funeral rites (cremation), Mangani Leihun, Lalna Thouram, Thagi Chak Pijaba (monthly food offering) and Kumon Phiroi (first death anniversary). These rituals not only mark the passage of one stage of life to another, express their social identity and belief system, but also build up social relationships and keep those relationships alive and functioning.