By Samir Debbarma, Translated from Kokborok By Luna Debbarma
‘TRING’ is a New Year festival for the people of Tripura. It is celebrated each year on the 1st of Vaishakh according to the Hindu calendar. The Tripura calendar started in 590 AD during the reign of Maharaja Jujarufa, whose descendants later assumed the Manikya title. 2019 was supposed to usher in the 1430 Tipra era. It is said that the Tripura Era was the only era present during the Manikya dynasty’s rule of five thousand years.
This festival has historical relevance as learned from historical records, coins, inscriptions on copper plates and walls of temples, letters and other documents from the Tripura Era. It is also said that for the purposes of all the official communications, royal communiqué, religious and cultural sphere of the princely state of Tippera, the Tripura Era was used during the British Raj period.
The last Tripura ruler, Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya
There is a tale behind every festival and its rituals, the same goes with Tripura’s Tring Era festival. Tripura was ruled by 184 Tripuri Kings before it merged into India in 1949. Tring was celebrated by foreigners and outsiders who considered Tripura not as a state but as a country in itself. Gradually after the death of the last ruling King Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Debbarman in 1949, Tring festival faced a downshift in its observation amongst the people.
In 2003, a group of tribals initiated this celebration once again, but the real issue that they faced was no knowledge or even comprehension of this festival which was once celebrated with all the pomp and show.
Pradyut Kishore Manikya Debbarma, grandson of King Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Debbarman. He presides over the inaugural of the Tering festival in Tripura and thousands come together with him to celebrate the New Year.
Presently, the Tring Era festival is celebrated every year on 21st December. The observance of this day started with one or two places, and now it has spread across the state. The leaders of various tribes in Tripura meet and discuss the programmes for the New Year. It is celebrated with music, dance, bursting crackers, local food and a multitude of programmes. It is celebrated throughout the state with zeal and gusto. People come together to celebrate this day with candles and dance to mark the new year at midnight.
The festival begins at midnight. Thousands of people come together to celebrate Tering Festival in Tripura with candles in their hands and shout “Happy Tering” to mark the beginning of a new year.
State festivals are unique and embody a special story of the communities in the state. These festivals are important because they not only bring people of the state together but also makes people aware of the stories and legends behind the festival. Such state festivals are important to mark the history of the said state and celebrating it every year is nothing but a token of remembrance.
About the author: Samir Debbarma lives in the Khowai district of Tripura. He has finished his graduation and is currently looking for a job in the government. His dream is to become a police officer. In his free time, he likes listening to Hindi classical music and practice art.
This article was first published in Youth Ki Awaaz