The dead are cremated by Hindu rites. The dying person is taken out of the
house to the verandah. The body is bathed and dressed in white clothes before it
is cremated. The cremation is done on the bank of a river or lake. The fire is
taken from the deceased's house. The body is placed on the pyre, the next of the
kin walks around the pyre with fire burning from the sticks he is holding. The
Brahmin does incantations and then the pyre is lit. The males stay back till the
body is consumed by fire. The persons who attend the funeral do not go home
direct. They are allowed to go after taking bath. Those who go to the deceased's
family, do not enter the house till they meet a person with fire. They believe
the evil spirits are then removed. The deceased person's bedding is burnt. The
bones of the deceased are collected from the ashes. These are placed in bamboo
tubes and taken to holy places.
Agriculture is the main occupation of
Meiteis. Therefore some rituals are
concerned with it. The rice goddess is Phonoibi. The ploughing must commence on
the Panchmi festival. The goddess is invoked by the 'maiba'. The rice and
flowers are mixed and wrapped in a banana leaf. It is then taken to the paddy
field and the mixture is sprinkled on all four sides. The goddess is also
worshipped after the harvest. 'Phon-Konba' ceremony is observed by offering
sareng fish cooked with herb without spices and offered to the goddess with
rice. They also carry out some rain rituals on the occasion of heavy rains or
when there is severe drought. Kirtans and Havans are arranged in temples.
Polygamy is allowed but polyandry is disapproved socially.
the present day the trend is mostly to have only one wedded wife. A widow cannot
marry her husband's brother. Divorce is very uncommon. Head hunting is no custom
in Meiteis since their adoption of Hinduism. The Meiteis were in the habit of
bringing in the heads of defeated enemies as trophies of powers. This
customs disappears when the gentler custom which are associated with
Hinduism became generally adopted in the state. Meitie society of the present day is a highly advanced Hindu
society and it has adopted all forms of ritualistic complexities. Theirs is a homogenous society.
This can be observe at different
ceremonies like marriage, child birth, sashti puja, temple ceremonies and
festivals. The uniformity in the dress of men and women is the best proof of