Meghalaya, one of the seven sisters is one of the popular tourist places in India due to the diverse beauty it envelopes. Blessed with beautiful mountains, cascading waterfalls, lush green forests, and deep caves, this beautiful hill station provides the most enriching experience for all kinds of people. Besides, this pristine hill state is known for its amazing and mesmerizing culture that can be experienced during the festival. Festivals in Meghalaya are celebrated with excitement and enthusiasm where the elders pass on the tradition to the younger generations making them more aware of their culture. And, of course, these celebrations are incomplete without the folk music and dance that makes the event lively and joyous. To experience the best of this abode of clouds, plan your Meghalaya trip during the festivals. Trawell.in presents you with a list of some of the famous Meghalaya festivals you need to have an idea about.
Wangala is the biggest harvest festival celebrated by the Garo tribes of Meghalaya and Assam as a thanks-giving ceremony to Misi Saljong, the deity of agriculture. Also known as the 100 Drum Wangala Festival, the festival signifies the beginning of winter and also marks the end of the agricultural season. The three-day cultural extravaganza is observed every year in November at Asanang, Garo Hills, Meghalaya. A ritual is performed by a village chief called Nokma, a day before the start of the festival during which freshly brewed rice beer, cooked rice, and vegetables are offered to the Misi Saljong as thanksgiving for a rich harvest season. Music and dances form a significant part of the Wangala celebrations in which women & men are dressed in colorful clothes, and feather head wraps. Among the top Indian festivals celebrated in November, the highlights of the festival include a traditional dance competition among Wangala troupes from the Garo Hills, slow-cooking competition, and indigenous games, along with a handloom and handicrafts exhibition.
The Nongkrem Festival is one of the most vibrant festivals celebrated by the Khasi people of Meghalaya. It is celebrated every year in Smit for 5 days in October / November, with pomp and gaiety. This festival is celebrated to appease Goddess Ka Blei Synshar for the prosperity of the people, good harvest, and peace. The major events of this festival involve the sacrifice of a goat by the priest. Hence, the name ‘Nongrkrem’, which translates to a goat killing ceremony, comes into place. The rituals of this festival are performed by the Syiem, the head of the Khasi tribe, and ka Syiem Sad (head priestess), who are considered the caretakers of the ceremonies and the people. During the festival, young women perform the Shad Kynthei, and the men circling them perform the Shad Mystieh. People from all over the world come to witness these celebrations as part of India tour packages.
Shad Suk Mynsiem
Shad Suk Mynsiem is the most important festival of the Khasi tribe but it is also celebrated by the Jaintia and Garo Clans of Meghalaya. Held in April every year at Weiking Grounds, Shillong, this is an extraordinary event that is all about moves, and therefore called ‘Move of Cheerful Hearts’. This three-day-long festival symbolizes the fertility cult, representing men as cultivators who cultivate, nourish the yield, and protect the nurse, while women represent the bearer of seeds. The Ka Shad Suk Mynsiem dance, which is performed to the rhythms of drums, cymbals, and the piping sound of Tangmuri, is an essential part of the festival. It is performed by unmarried girls dressed in their traditional best, while the man circles the women in their lashing out swords and whips, signifies that man is the protector of the woman and her honor. It is among the unique festivals of Meghalaya that draws a large number of tourists as part of the Meghalaya Tour.
Behdienkhlam is another prominent festival celebrated in Meghalaya every year in the small peripheral town of Jowai, Meghalaya. Held in July, this long festival is observed as a traditional celebration by the Pnar tribe of Meghalaya after agricultural sowing is over. Khlam means plague and Behdien means to drive away with sticks. Hence, the festival is held to drive away negative forces that may affect the crop. The festivities take place over three days and culminate with a procession of chariots and ceremonial tree trunks to a sacred pool full of water. Another highlight of the occasion is a football match held between locals and the winner is believed to have a bumper harvest. It is one of the most popular festivals celebrated in July in India.
Shad Sukra Festival is the most popular festival among Jaintia people of Meghalaya. Celebrated every year in the month of April or May, the festival marks the start of the sowing season. The sowing of seeds takes place only after this festival. The rituals and dance along with the music, are performed by men and women to pray for a fruitful and good harvest by wearing their traditional outfits, heavily adorned with gold ornaments. If you want to be a part of this event, then plan your trip to Meghalaya in April to witness this opulence of culture at Jowai Town, West Jaintia Hills.