|Yubee - Lakpee ( Snatching the coconut
Yubee Lakpee is a popular outdoor game in
Manipur, played only by men. It is akin to rugby, and requires a great
deal of vigorous body play and stamina. Yubee in Manipuri means
coconut, and lakpee means snatching. This is a seven - a - side
game and is played on a field that is 45.72 by 18.29m in area. The game
starts when a coconut, duly anointed, is thrown into play, from one end
of the field. The coconut is greased, and each player tries to catch it.
Each player exhibits his strength and agility, in both gathering the
coconut and holding onto it. The game demands wrestling ability, speed,
great reflexes and a sharp mind. Some scholars choose to view the game
in a religious light, since it was played on the grounds of the Bijoy
Govinda Temple on pichakari day, at the home of King Ananta
Shayee, by persons acting as gods and demons. The game was celebrated
annually on this day, re - enacting the scene from Hindu mythology
involving the snatching of the pot of nectar, after the churning of the
How the game is played
The number of players may vary, but usually the maximum number of
players does not exceed 24. Each player performs as an individual. After
oiling his body, each player wears the ningri or waist belt,
similar to the one worn in the game of Mukna.
The coconut is placed at the centre of the field, and on a signal,
the players race towards it. The referee begins the game with a loud
call - ' s wa ', occasionally he begins it by throwing the coconut into
play, in centre field. The coconut is held chest - high by the player in
possession, and players are not allowed to kick it.
The team, the players of which succeed in carrying the coconut into
the box area ( a rectangular space 4 1/2 by 3 m in area, inside the
field, the central portion of the goal line forming one of its side )
and over the goal line, despite foiling attempts by the opponents, wins
the game. Just beyond the goal line sits the judge ( in days of yore,
the ningthou or king occupied this seat ), and it is to him that
the players dedicate the coconut.
In order to score a goal, the player has to penetrate the box area
from the front, not from the sides, and he must then cross the goal
line, while carrying the coconut. In case, no player succeeds in
reaching the king ( the judge ) with the coconut, all the players are
lined up and made to run a race to decide the victor. When the game
really reaches a boiling point as it were, and there are too many people
pouncing on the coconut, the rising ardour is cooled by dousing the
players with water !
One of the prominent and popular indigenous sports of the state of
Meghalaya is archery. Archery is an intrinsic part of the culture of the
local people, and plays a principal role in their festivals. The bows
and gut are made of a special bamboo, and are of varying lengths and
sizes. The arrows are made from special reeds, topped with a pointed
metal cap, using eagle feathers. The feathers are interwoven near the
neck on four sides, this part of arrow - making being the domain of the
The target is made from a certain kind of grass, and is circular in
shape, 8 to 10 inches high and 3 inches in diameter. The target is
affixed on a thin bamboo pole, at a height of 3 1/2 ft from the ground.
A notch is made at the base of the pole and any arrow hitting below the
notch, is not counted for points. The distance exceeds 30 metres. There
are three ways of conducting this contest : individual competition, team
competition, and fast and slow shooting.