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Tripura, the land of History and Legends


 The Tripuri is the promoter of Hangrai or Sankranti festivals. They have first introduced this festival of immersing of ancestors remains in the holy river. Since than it was adopted by other groups in India and popularized over the years.

Mythological legends informs us that when the world was just crated by Lord Siva or Sibrai there was only the grass land and nothing was present. The god then created an egg to produce human being. The egg hatched to give birth to a human being, crating a big bang. He crawled out of egg shell and looked around for any one like him, but he found none. There was total silence, peace tranquility and harmony in the earth. He was frightened by seeing this scenario of earth. He remained near the egg shell most of the time and the went back near to the empty egg shell, went inside of half of the shell and covered with another one and hid there.

The almighty God was upset by this development. Years later he created another egg, and after ten moths it hatched. There was a big bang when it hatched that shook the earth and gave birth to another human. He was very courageous and powerful, as soon as he came out of human egg shell, he started shouting and announced to whole of the world, 'I am the first to born in this earth, I am the eldest in the earth, no one is elder to me in this earth. He named him self as Subrai and declared whole of the earth that he is the ruler of this earth and king of this universe. Hearing the big bang Hangrai got more frightened, closed his eyes and silently remained in side the shell. But when he heard the voice like his own, he came out of his shell and met Subrai. At this Subrai told that he is older than Hangrai, since then Subrai became elder brother of Hangrai, and people knew them as it is.

Thousand of years later when they grown older, time have came to leave this world. As Hangrai grown older than Subrai, one day he felt sick very seriously, Hangrai was in death bed, Subrai was taking care of him. Then god came before them and said, 'Among both you, Hangrai is elder then Subrai, I only know this, because I have created both of you. Hangrai will leave this earth very soon. Subrai will do all necessary rituals to cremate the body of Hangrai.' And god disappeared from there.

Then Subrai cried like a baby, touching the feet of Hangrai, saying, 'Elder brother, I have treated you like younger brother for thousands of years, forgive me for my wrongly wrong doing unto you.'

Hangrai said, 'I have done so!' and touched his head as gesture of forgiving and blessing unto him, and then breadth for his last.

 After death of Hangrai his younger brother Subrai cremated his body and did all the rituals and immerged Hangrai's remaining in the holy water of river on the last day of Pousa month. Since then every year, people observed this rituals and festivals every year, and continued till this days. That is why the day is named as Hangrai, which has later on adopted by other ethnic groups of people of India.

Every year on the day of Hangrai the Tripuri people observe it in grand pomp and show. In every house of Tripuri preparation for Hangrai starts two three days before. Houses are cleaned, washed white washed. All the utensils, clothes, articles are cleaned, homes are decorated. Different types of Tripura cakes, dishes, and drinks are prepared, near and dear ones, relatives are invited for a feast.

Boys  of 7-19 years prepare for Hangrai nok, a small type of hut prepared by bamboo and thatched, just near by any pond or pool. Generally it takes 5 to seven days to make such hut. All the boys of the villages gather make a group and built it collecting thatch from the paddy field or jungle. On day preceding Hangrai, these young boys collect some money; buy some rice, meats, egg, fishes etc. and cook in the hut in the preceding night. Whole day night they have a gala of feast, fun and enjoy and sleep there in the cold chill night. Before the dawn, even before the cock crows, these young boys wake up, take out all the article from the hut and burn it out. When the fire catches the hut, these boys take a holy dip in the pond or near by river.

After the bath, they will remain there till day light is out. Coming home they will wear all the new cloths, washed cloths, do the salutation do parents and senior of the home. When the cake are being prepared, these boys or young girls would take the taste of cake when it is still hot, and satisfied.

On the other hand the seniors also will not remain back in this case. They will, after taking a bath and all wear new cloths, apply natural perfumes. They gather in one particular home, as decided earlier, carry their own share of contribution of cakes, dishes, and Bwtwk, chuwarak etc. drink, dialogue, dine, and dance. Take a bow to senior first time when they take a sip of bwtwk and enjoy through out the day till mid night.

Spiritually, the sons or any sandai of deceased will go to holy place or for pilgrimage to Dumbur to immerge the remains of their deceased parents or elders in the Holy river Gumti. There they, will follow the  ritual of Tripuri people and observe the sanctity of the remains of deceased and take a bath and immerge the remains in holy water or Gumti.

Those who have the means and affordability go to holy places of Hindu like Baranasi, Gaya, Prayag, Sagar Dweep, Haridwar etc. to immerge their parents remains.