Festivals of Meghalaya You Must Experience to Celebrate Life


Festivals of Meghalaya-01

Meghalaya combines eternal joy and tranquillity wrapped in spectacular beauty. The gorgeous locations, plentiful animals, fresh and peaceful surroundings, and daring sports are what make ‘Abode of Clouds’ so appealing. The spectacle of verdant hills and glens constantly soaked in regular drizzles will rejuvenate one’s spirit. A trip to Meghalaya ensures encounters with unusual flora and fauna, as well as friendly tribal people and their cultural heritage. Meghalaya is known for its friendliness, pleasantness, and kindness.

Suggested Read – Culture of Meghalaya – Into the House of Clouds

The people of Meghalaya celebrate life via their festivals. The events, which cover a wide range of themes, take place all year. The people’s passion and delight in celebrating their festivals are genuinely admirable. The three tribes of Meghalaya happily celebrate their respective celebrations. There are several festivals, however the following are the most important:

Shad Suk Mynsiem    

Festivals of Meghalaya- Shad Suk Mynsiem       
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The Shad Suk Mynsiem festival is held in April. Individual familial clans or the Khasi state perform the rites or ceremonies (Hima). The dance is done to represent the Khasi society’s matrilineal and patrilineal structures. Unmarried females in traditional attire do the dance, as a guy surrounds the women wielding his sword. The dance symbolises that a man is the guardian of a woman’s honour. The dance is performed at the Weiking Grounds near Shillong’s capital city, as well as in other locations.

Suggested Read – Folk Dances of Meghalaya, Expressions of Free-spirited Souls

Nongkrem Festival

Festivals of Meghalaya-Nongkrem Festival
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The Nongkrem Festival, one of the most prominent celebrations among the Khasis, is held every year in Smit, about 15 kilometres from Shillong. It is an important Hima Khyriem seat (Chief of Khyriem). The rites are carried out by the Syiem, the Khasi state’s leader, and ka Syiem Sad (head priestess). They are honoured as the guardians of the rites and the people. The celebration is held to commemorate a bountiful harvest, peace, and wealth. People travel from all over the nation and the world to see the festival, which includes young ladies doing the Shad Kynthei and men around them performing the Shad Mystieh as a representation of masculine strength and protection over the women.

Behdienkhlam Festival

Festivals of Meghalaya-Behdienkhlam Festival
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The Behdienkhlam Festival is one of the most prominent Jaintia festivities. It is observed by followers of the Niamtre faith. It is observed in July, prior to the seed-sowing season. The actual meaning of Behdienkhlam is ‘Chasing away the Plague’. The priest performs rituals and sacrifices to the accompaniment of drums and flutes. Tall minarets are paraded to the sacred place before being sunk in a river. Men, whether old and young, dance to the drums and flutes, while the ladies stand guard in their finest traditional garb, highly adorned with gold. Every year, the celebration is held in Jowai Town and adjacent villages in the Jaintia Hills.

Shad Sukra

Festivals of Meghalaya-Shad Sukra
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The Jaintia people celebrate the Shad Sukra every year in April or May. It is a festival that marks the beginning of the planting season. Every Jaintia farmer awaits this holiday before beginning seed sowing. To pray for a prosperous and productive season, rituals and dancing are accompanied by drums and flute. Men and women attend the events dressed in their traditional finest, highly adorned with gold jewellery. This grandeur of culture may be seen at Jowai Town, West Jaintia Hills. The settlement is 64 kilometres from Shillong, the state capital.

Wangala Festival

Festivals of Meghalaya-Wangala Festival
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The Wangala festival is one of the most prominent Garo festivities. It is a harvest celebration held to commemorate the conclusion of the agricultural year. It is a celebration of thankfulness to Misi-A-Gilpa-Saljong-Galapa, the fertility deity. It is now commonly known as the Hundred Drums Festival. He guides the boys and girls in coordinated dancing steps with hand and head pointing gestures, accompanied by the yells of the leading warrior. The celebration is held in various locations around the Garo Hills between September and December. If you want to see the really traditional style of celebrating by the Garo people who still practise the old faith, go to ‘Songsarek’ (animistic) villages like Sadolpara in the West Garo Hills.

Ka Rongkhli Festival of Jaintia 

Festivals of Meghalaya-Ka Rongkhli Festival of Jaintia 
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The most prominent celebration of the War Jaintia is held in Meghalaya’s Nongtalang village. Rons means festival and Khli means tiger, therefore Tiger festival is the result. This ceremony is conducted anytime a tiger is inadvertently killed or by locals on an organised hunting trip. God must be worshipped and the event must be celebrated regardless of how the tiger is killed. It is thought that if God is not worshipped, people would suffer from tragedies such as pandemic illnesses, famine, and blindness. After the harvesting season, the event is generally celebrated in January, February, or March.

Strawberry Festival

Festivals of Meghalaya-Strawberry Festival

This festival is all about strawberries, as the name implies. Meghalaya offers one of the greatest conditions in India for growing fruits, including the delicious strawberry. Fresh strawberries and strawberry wine are provided to families and visitors as part of the event. Several enjoyable events, such as pie-eating contests and karaoke competitions, are organised as part of the festival. If you enjoy strawberries and fun activities, the Meghalaya Strawberry Festival should be on your bucket list!

Cherry Blossom Festival

Festivals of Meghalaya-Cherry Blossom Festival in meghalaya
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In every corner of India, November is the month when chilly air ruffles your hair, yet Meghalaya basks in the splendour of lovely pink cherry blossoms. These lovely blossoms usher in the Indian version of fall by painting the state capital and the East Khasi hills pink. In November, the cherry blossom festival highlighted the spectacular fall blossoming of Himalayan cherry blossoms. You may enjoy the region’s art and craft as well as a variety of events such as a beauty contest, live music performances, storytelling sessions, bicycle rallies, and so on.

Shillong Autumn Festival

Festivals of Meghalaya-Shillong Autumn Festival
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The Autumn Festival is a huge cultural festival conducted in the state of Meghalaya from October to November that is hosted by the Meghalaya Tourism Development Forum with the goal of showcasing the rich and colourful culture of the North East and Meshalaya in particular. The inaugural Autumn Festival was conducted in 2005, and due to its overwhelming success, it has been held every year thereafter. Its goal is to mobilise multiple communities into action and participation in a single event, allowing the people of the area to realise the advantages of tourism to their villages.

Suggested Read – Traditional Dresses of Meghalaya, Tribal Attire at its Best

The event lasts a week and takes place in places including Shillong, Jowai, Cherrapunjee, and Ri Bhoi in Meghalaya. Local communities are involved in a variety of capacities wherever the festivals are hosted, so that these communities may understand the benefits of being part of the efforts to bring about sustainable development through tourism. The event also features traditional sports and massage therapies, as well as cultural music and dances from Meghalaya and the North Eastern area. There are food courts selling delectable local and foreign cuisines, arts and crafts booths, modern music and dance entertainment, competitive sports such as kite flying, fishing, boat racing, vintage car pageants, international performances, tattoo huts, family activities, and so on.

Meghalaya is a lovely state with something to enjoy every day. It has more to offer than it appears. It is much more amazing if you visit during Meghalaya’s festivities. Next time you plan your trip, don’t forget to do it around one of these charming festivals and celebrations. 

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