Laa khanganui is a form of beauty contest in our ancient society. It is performed during the seed-sowing festival called Luira, by all unmarried women in the village including teenage girls who have attained puberty. Participants clad in traditional attire with bangles and necklace (kongsang), sing folk songs and walk gracefully in circle. Their mesmerizing bodies and beauties are enchanted by the men folks from around the playground. Some elders say that this pageant is also meant to invoke for the Creator’s blessings upon the seeds that are to be sown, and the crops to be as good as their body.
Accidental fall out of any part of attire during the pageant from a participant was traditionally believed to be a sign of her immorality by loss of virginity. Every unmarried woman must participate in this pageant. If an unmarried woman does not participate in this pageant, she would be considered and tittle-tattled to have had carnal experience before marriage. There is however, no disciplinary action against anyone who fails to participate in it. This practice reassures youth to maintain high moral principle of not losing virginity before marriage.
Written by Tsivyo Kasom
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