Fairs and Festivals of Meghalaya
As there are three tribes in the
Meghalaya, the festivals of this region are broadly classified into the
festivals of their respective regions. There are many festivals of each tribe
but the following are the one of the most important festivals of the community.
Nongkrem Dance (October/November)
This is one of the most important festivals of the Khasi tribes. It is
celebrated at 'Smit', which is the cultural center of the Khasis. It is five day
harvest celebration, thanking the Lord Almighty for abundant harvest. The
participants also pray for the peace and prosperity of the community. When the
festival commences, the Syiem (that is the administrative head of the Khasi
region) dances before a certain wooden pillar called "U Rishot Blei". Then a
ritualistic sacrifice of goats is made followed by a series of rituals like
offerings to the Gods (various Gods they are worshipped praised) and to the
ancestors, 'Kalawbei U Thawlang'. Once the religious rituals are over, dancers
begin their rituals. Unmarried girls in fine costumes and jewelleries dance
within a circle with the men of open sword in one hand and a white yak-hair
whisk in the other. They dance to the rhythmic beats of the drums and the
clanging of cymbals and the flute striking up a melody in the background. Apart
from it, there are lists of festivals that are celebrated by the people in the
Khasi hills. Ka Shad Suk Mynsiem, Ka Pom-Blang Nongkrem,
Ka-Shad-Shyngwiang-Thangiap, Ka-Shad-Kynjoh Khaskain, Ka Bam Khana Shnong,
Umsang Nongkharai and Shad Beh Sier are other festivals that are celebrated with
much pomp and gaiety.
This is one of the popular festivals of the region of Jaintia hills. Based on
the socio-economic life of the Jaintias and prayers for the property and good
health of the people, this festival is celebrated at Jowai, the district
headquarters. Jowai is situated at an altitude of 1220 meters above sea level
and is 64 kms away from Shillong. The festival is celebrated to invoke the
blessings of Gods for a bountiful harvest and keep people off diseases and
plaque. The main highlight of Behdienkhlam are the making of the "Dein Khlam",
"Symlend" and "Khnong", which are rounded, polished and tall trunks of trees.
Another festival that can be mentioned which is also celebrated at Jaintia hills
is the Sowing Ritual Ceremony.
There are many festivals celebrated by the Garos. Mention can be made of
Denbilsia, Wangala, Rongchugala, Mi Amua, Mangona, GrendikBa, Dore Rata Dance
and Chambil Mesara.
Wangala, celebrated as a thanksgiving ceremony to the Gods and the Goddesses, is
considered to be 'the post-harvest festival of the Garos'. Wangala is one of the
most important festivals of the Garos. During this festival, ritual sacrifice is
made to the goddess ' Misi Saljong' to bless them with plenty of food-grains.
The festival also highlights the end of the time of toil in the fields and
harvesting of crops. When the dance ceremony begins the dancers of men and women
lined up in queue and the men beat their drums. They move forward in tune with
clang of gongs, buffalo-horn and flutes. The dancers perform with energetic and
Shad Suk Mynsiem (April)
Shad Suk Mynsiem festival also known as the “ festival dance of the joyful
heart.” It is held in Shillong and is one main festivals of the Khasis. The
festival is celebrated for three days and during the festivals, men and women
clothed in their traditional costumes dance to the beats of the drum and the
tunes of the flute.
The Laho Dance (July)
It is one of the festivals celebrated in the Jaintia Hills. During the festival,
two men dressed in traditional attire, dance on either sides of a woman holding
arms together. Here a man promptly recites couplets for the dance and entertains
Chambil Mesara or Pomelo Dance (October)
The dance is performed only by skillful dancers. The dance consists of a solo
dance where the performer manages to dangle a pomelo or some other fruit from a
cord around his waist. The performance gets interesting when the dancer spins
more than one pomelo faster and faster.