Meaning of MEITHEI in English

also called Manipuri, dominant population of Manipur in northeastern India. The area was once inhabited entirely by peoples resembling such hill tribes as the Naga and the Mizo. Intermarriage and the political dominance of the strongest tribes led to a gradual merging of ethnic groups and the formation finally of the Meithei, numbering about 780,000. They are divided into clans, the members of which do not intermarry. Although they are genetically Mongol and speak a Tibeto-Burman language, they differ culturally from the surrounding hill tribes by following Hindu customs. Before their conversion to Hinduism they ate meat, sacrificed cattle, and practiced headhunting, but now they abstain from meat (though they eat fish), do not drink alcohol, observe rigid rules against ritual pollution, and revere the cow. They claim high-caste status. The worship of Hindu gods, with especial devotion to Krishna, has not precluded the cult's worship of many pre-Hindu indigenous deities and spirits. Rice cultivation on irrigated fields is the basis of their economy. They are keen horse breeders, and polo is a national game. Hockey, boat races, theatrical performances, and dancing (well known throughout India as the Manipuri style) are other pastimes.

Britannica English vocabulary.      Английский словарь Британика.