Payer (puja) plate
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Meghalaya pronunciation is a small state in north-eastern India. The word "Meghalaya" literally means "The Abode of Clouds" in Hindi and Sanskrit. Meghalaya is a hilly strip in the eastern part of the country about 300 km long (East-West) and 100 km wide, with a total area of about 22,429 km². The population numbered 2,175,000 in 2000. The state is bounded on the north by Assam and by Bangladesh on the south. The capital is Shillong, which has a population of 260,000.(Wikipedia)

Festivals of Meghalaya

Nongkrem Dance festival in Meghalaya


Time: November

Duration: Five Days

Location: Smit, Khasi Hills, Meghalaya


The Nongkrem dance festival is celebrated during Autumn(November) at Smit, the cultural center of the Khasi Hills. A five day long religious festival of the Khasis, Ka Pemblang Nongrem dance is popularly known as Nongkrem dance.

Similar to all other festivals of the Meghalaya, Nongkrem Dance Festival is performed to appease the all powerful Goddess Ka Blei Synshar for a rich bumper harvest and prosperity of the people.The dance is performed in the open by young girls and boys, both bachelors and married. The women are dressed in expensive silk costumes with heavy gold, silver and coral ornaments dance in the inner circle of the arena. The men form an outer circle and dance to the accompaniment of music of flutes and drums. An important feature of the festival is the 'Pomblang' or goat sacrifice offered by the subjects to the Syiem of Khyrim, the administrative head of the Hima (Khasi State). Ka Syiem Sad, the eldest sister of the king is the chief priest and caretaker of all ceremonies. The festival is conducted along with the Myntries (Ministers), priests and high priest where offerings are made to ancestors of the ruling clan and the deity of Shillong.

Wangala festival in Meghalaya


Time: November

Duration: Two-Seven Daya

Location: Garo Hill, Meghalaya


Wangala Festival of Meghalaya is a very important festival among the Garos tribe of Meghalaya. Wangala Festival is a harvest festival held in honor of Saljong, the Sun-god of fertility. The celebration of the Wangala Festival marks the end of a period of toil, which brings good output of the fields. It also signifies the onset of winter.

This festival is also known as a 100 drums festival. During this festival the tribal's offer sacrifices to please their main deity Saljong - the Sun God. It is generally celebrated for two days and sometimes continues for even a week in the month of November every year. The ceremony performed on first day known as "Ragula" is performed inside the house of the chief. On the second day it is known as "Kakkat". Both young and old people dressed in their colorful costumes with feathered headgear's dance to the tune of music played on long oval-shaped drums. The 'orchestra' of men includes drums, gong and flutes, punctuated by the sonorous music of an primitive flute made of buffalo horn. This is the occasion to relax and for days the hills and valleys echoes with the extraordinary beat of drums. The dance performed during the festival itself has certain subtle variations, there is a queue of two parallel lines - one of men and other of women clad in their festive fineries. Young and old join the festivities with equal enthusiasm. The Wangala Festival is a way to preserve and promote the cultural identity of Garos in Meghalaya.

Shah Suk Mynsiem Festival in Meghalaya


Time: April

Duration: Three Days

Location: Khasi Hills, near Shillong,Meghalaya


Shad Suk Mynsiem festival is the counterpart of the Garo harvest festival. This festival is also known as the 'Dance of Contentment'. Shad Suk Mynsiem of Meghlaya is celebrated in the month of April for three days at the Wecking grounds near Shillong and at other places in Meghalaya.

Shad Suk Mynsiem is one of the most important festivals of the Khasis tribe. It is an annual thanksgiving dance festival, when people of the Khasis tribes offer prayer to God for the profuse harvest. Men and women, dressed in traditional fineries dance along with the beats of drums and pipes called tangmuri, the queen of musical instruments.

Behdienkhlam Festival in Meghalaya


Time: July

Duration: Three Days

Location: Jowai, Meghalaya


Behdienkhlam Festival is the most celebrated religious festival among the Pnars and it is celebrated at Jowai. Behdienkhlam (chasing away the Demon of Cholera) is celebrated annually in July after the sowing period. This is the most important dance festival of the Jaintia tribes. This festival is also an incantation to God, seeking his blessings for a bumper harvest. The women however do not participate in the dancing, as they are responsible for offering sacrificial food to the spirits of the forefathers.

A series of religious rites is being performed by the Daloi (chief) of Jaintia tribe. During the Behdienkhlam Festival, young men make a symbolic gesture of driving away of the evil spirit, plague and disease by beating of the roof of every house with bamboo poles. The highlight of the celebration is the fight for a large undressed beam by two groups of people in opposition to each other. This leads to the heavy beam get across a muddy ditch called Wah-eit-nar. A lot of horse play enter into this part of the event, when mud is smeared by the participants on each other. The ceremony and ritual is carried out for three days and on the last day, in the afternoon people would gather in a place called Aitnar and both young and old would dance to the tunes of the pipes and drums. The dancers are highly emotional when tall-decorated structures called rots and a wooden post-called khnongs are brought into the pool. It is desirable that there should be rain on the day of the festival. The culmination of the festival is when people dressed up in their best attire would converge to a place called Mynthong to witness a game played similar to football, called dad-lawakor. The game is played with a wooden ball between the Northerners and the Southerners. If the ball is put by Northerners side on the Southerners side or visa versa, it signifies that in the following year there would be a bumper harvest in that particular region. In the evening there is a lot of funfair and merry making among the people of the tribe.