Festivals in ShillongFestivals are a substantial part of the cultural identity of the tribes of Shillong. They bring to life the myths and traditions through symbolic performances. The most popular festivals is the thanksgiving festival celebrated by all tribes in different ways throughout the year. The Khasis celebrate"Shad Suk Mynsiem" or the "Harvest Dance" for three consecutive days where young girls and men dress themselves in silver and gold ornaments. Among the Jaintia tribe, the "Behdiengkhlam festival" is celebrated to drive away the bad luck or plague from the land. The Garos celebrate "Wangala Dance" or the "Festival of Hundred Drums" as their thanksgiving dance during the autumn harvest. The dance is carried out by ten contingents of ten drummers each drumming on oval elongated drums.
Autumn FestivalThere are various festivals throughout the year, but Shillong is most lively in the months of October-November during the Annual Autumn Festival. The Meghalaya Tourism, along with various other organizations co-host several functions and events to thrill and entertain both tourists and locals. Sprinkled with fashion shows where local designers showcase their products and designs using indigenous fabrics woven in the state and beauty pageants, there are also food and wine festivals, kite flying competitions, flower shows, fishing competitions, music and rock festivals, golf tournaments and a host of other activities.
The festival usually kicks starts with a festive carnival parade by school and college students. Reflecting different stories and aspects of their life, students put up top-notch show and the winners are rewarded with cash prizes. There are also various other events like the kite-flying competition and other fun-filled activities that one can enjoy with everyone.
If you have not cycled in the beautiful Khasi Valleys, then take part in the cycling competition and soak in the beauty while paddling down the streets. As the night descends, the spectacular lake shall transform into the venue for the dazzling light and sound show. Surfeit your taste buds with the rich spread of local and international cuisine at the Food Festival by Lake Umiam.
Khasi Festivals : Shad Suk MynsiemThe Shad Suk Mynsiem also well-known as ‘Shad Phur’ is the annual thanks giving dance festival of the Khasi Community which is celebrated in the month of April at the Weiking Grounds of Shillong. The three day long festival incorporates a traditional Khasi Dance, also known as the ‘Dance of Contentment’.
The men and women of the Khasi tribe fully clad themselves in traditional dress and dance to the tunes of drums and tangmuri pipes and worship the harvest deity for a good crop.
The traditional Jaintia festival Behdeinkhlam is celebrated in the month of July both in Jowai as well as Shillong. During this festival men dance to the tunes of drums and pipes while women cook sacrificial food at home for their ancestral spirits. Ratha, a long and tall decorative structure is erected in each locality that is carried around by 30 to 40 men to the lake of Aitnar for immersion.
In the afternoon, a genre of soccer, locally known as ‘Datlawakor’, is played between two teams, Upper Myntdu Valley and Lower Myntdu Valley made with a wooden ball. The Jaintias believe that the winners are blessed with a good harvest in the coming year.
Garo community celebrates Wangala Festival also popular as ‘Wanna Rongchuwa’ in the month between September and December. During this Lord Misi Saljong; the Sun God of Fertility is worshiped and thanked for upscale harvest. Ceremonies like Rugala and Sasat Sowa is observed during this festival. The Dama Gogata ritual marks the end of this festival. During this festival, the Garo people dress up in their traditional colorful attire like the Dokmanda, Gando or Doksari.The main dances performed during the Wangala Festival include Chambil Mesa (Pomelo Dance), Dani Dokka, Katta Dokka and Ajea.
The Creative Art Literary Music Festival (CALM)
The Sahaki Society in order to provide a platform for all the creative artists in Northeast India started the Creative Art Literary Music Festival or CALM. This festival focuses on the creative forms of art like creative writing, painting, photography, theater, craft, music, pottery poetry, and stand-up comedy shows. During the festival workshops on various forms of art are also conducted by specialists.