Festivals of Meghalaya: One of the nicest places to be in one of India’s seven northeastern states is Meghalaya. Meghalaya is the home of clouds. This state, which lives up to its name, will astonish you with its breathtaking charm. It has more to offer than simply thunderclouds and beautiful greenery, with deep caves, gushing waterfalls, and luscious green woods. In Meghalaya, celebrations of life are greatly influenced by festivals. Here are some of the most significant festivals that are observed in Meghalaya.
Shad Suk Mynsiem Festival of Meghalaya
The most significant celebration for the Khasi Clans of Meghalaya is Shad Suk Mynsiem. The Meghalayan Jaintia and Garo Clans also commemorate it. Every year, in April, people commemorate this holiday. This remarkable movement celebration is often referred to as the “Move of Joyful Hearts.” This three-day event is referred to as “Shad Phur” in popular culture. The Khasi Hills, which are situated adjacent to Shilong, are where this event is primarily observed.
- Key Attractions: The vibrant dance performed next to the Weiking grounds in Shillong is the main draw.
- Best Time: April
- Location: Weiking grounds
The Nongkrem Festival of Meghalaya
The Khasis also commemorate the Nongkrem Festival. With pomp and revelry, it is annually observed in Smit. It is an annual festival of thankfulness that lasts for around 5 days in October or November. The Shad Mystieh dance is performed by the Khasi men and women here for visitors from all over the world to see.
Young virgin females of the Khasi clan dance the Ka Shad Kynthei in the inner circle of the arena at this festival while men performing the Ka Shad Mystieh in the outer circle are clad in dhotis, full-sleeved shirts, sleeveless coats, turbans, and swords in their right hands. This dance represents the dominance and defense of men over women.
- Key Attractions: Shad Mystieh dance, delicious Khasi food, and traditional clothing are the main draws.
- Best Time: Autumn
- Location: Smit
Behdeinkhlam Festival of Meghalaya
The Jaintia Clan holds a four-day feast called Behdeinkhlam. The Bhdeinkhlam, which refers to “Chasing away the Plague,” is thought to stave against evil. It is observed during the sowing season when followers of the Niamtre faith assemble and pray for abundant harvests. Every year, it is observed in July. Several rites and sacrifices take place during this event. The Janitia clan’s male members get together to play a game called Datlawakor, which is a wooden ball version of soccer. It is anticipated that those who prevail in the game would produce a lot that year.
Shad Sukra Festival of Meghalaya
The Jaintia clan also participates in this occasion. In the middle of April or May, this holiday is also observed before the sowing season. The Pnar people pray to their god for the blessing of excellent harvests and the safety of their crops from all-natural disasters. Drums and a flute accompany ritual dances, and both men and women wear their traditional attire.
- Key Attractions: Drums and a flute are used to accompany dance and rituals.
- Best Time: Is April or May
- Location: Jowai town, West Jaintia Hills
The Wangala Festival of Meghalaya
The Garo people celebrate the Wangala Festival to commemorate the conclusion of the agricultural year. It is a celebration of thankfulness for the fertility god Misi-A-Gilpa-Saljong-Galapa. Nowadays, people refer to this event as the Hundred Drums Festival. Men and women dance gracefully for a special called Nagara that is beaten throughout this celebration. Dhotis, half-coats, and feathered turbans are often the dress code for males, while colorful silk dresses, blouses, and feathered head wraps are the attire for ladies.
- Key Attractions: Men beating 100 drums is the main draw.
- Best Time: September to December
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The Strawberry Festival of Meghalaya
Every year, Meghalaya hosts the Strawberry Festival to support local farmers and the harvest of fruit for food. The state’s environment is ideal for growing the beloved fruit. Every February on Valentine’s Day, crowds of people swarm to Umsning and Sohliya hamlet in the Ri-Bhoi area to savor lush and sweet strawberries. The festival is not just for loved ones and family to attend and have fun; it also helps local farmers and the local economy.
Seng Kut Snem Festival of Meghalaya
Seng Kut Snem is a celebration that honors the Khasi faith and culture and celebrates the rise of the Seng Khasi movement. The Khasi Young Men’s Association was founded on November 23, 1899, by sixteen young men to protect the indigenous way of life that the British were destroying. Seng Kut Snem was thus initially commemorated as the Khasi Young Men’s Association’s inaugural anniversary. To honor the movement, the association was renamed Seng Khasi in 1901, and it now holds an annual celebration. Unlike the new year celebrations in many other communities, this event is a communal prayer maintaining the unique identity of the Khasi race. During the event, elders give oral lectures and lead programmes about traditional Khasi faith, beliefs, behavior, etiquette, and customs.
- Key Attractions: Thousands of people attend this festival dressed to the nines in traditional attire
- Best Time: November
- Location: Shillong
Cherry Blossoms Festival of Meghalaya
All of India experiences chilly winds in November, but Meghalaya cheerfully basks in the glory of lovely pink cherry blossoms. The state capital and the East Khasi hills become pink when these lovely flowers bloom, heralding the start of the Indian version of autumn. The Himalayan cherry blossoms’ unusual autumn flowering, which occurred in November, was commemorated by a festival. Along with a wide range of events including a beauty contest, live music performances, storytelling sessions, bicycle rallies, etc., you may enjoy the art and craft of the area.
- Key Attraction: In addition to dance performances, bike rallies, rock concerts, and cherry blossom displays
- Best Time: In the Middle of November
- Location: Shillong
Shillong Autumn Festival of Meghalaya
One of the celebrations that ushers in the season are the Shillong Autumn Festival, which is well-known in India. It is a cultural extravaganza that primarily takes place in Shillong and highlights the culture of the country. The capital city has undergone an impressive transition into a hub of pleasure and revelry, attracting tourists. To keep both tourists and residents interested, there are also displays of various handicrafts, a food and wine festival, a fashion show, etc.
- Key Attractions: Musical concerts, wine tastings, cuisine festivals, flower presentations, and displays of handicrafts
- Best Time: October to November
- Location: Shillong
Other Main Festivals of Meghalaya
The celebration of this festival in the state serves to commemorate Bihu, which is commemorated throughout the entire state of Assam as well as in the Brahmaputra Valley. The festival lasts for five days, from the middle of April to the middle of May. The first day of the festival is the most important since individuals must travel a long distance to get home, and the last day is a special day for kids because they are excused from school.
One of Meghalaya’s distinctive celebrations is the Bhogali Bihu, also known as the Hogali Bihu. Because it symbolizes a sacred celebration for the Kuki people of Assam and North Bengal, it is known as Hogali.
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In Meghalaya, most of the festivals are distinct and organized in their manner. Many of these celebrations have spread throughout India, giving them a distinctive Meghalayan flavor.
The Khasis, who live in the Khasi Hills, are the principal participants in the Wangala celebration. The celebration is brief, joyous, and colorful, featuring vibrant cultural performances, old-fashioned games, songs, and dances. Garo Wangala is another name for the Wangala event. In Meghalaya, it is the largest event. Every family in the Garoland celebrates Wangala on its own. It is the start of the Khasi New Year.
Frequently Asked Questions about Festivals of Meghalaya
What Meghalayan holidays are significant?
The primary festivals celebrated in Meghalaya are the Garo Wangala Festival, Shad Suk, Mynsiem, and Nongkrem Dance.
What is Meghalaya’s National Festival?
Wangala Festival of Meghalaya is the state’s annual celebration.
What is Shillong’s most well-known festival?
In India, the Autumn Festival is a celebrated holiday. One of the festivals that signals the start of a season is this one. The Meghalayan capital of Shillong is where it is primarily observed.
What makes Meghalaya special?
Meghalaya is home to a diverse variety of fruits, vegetables, spices, and healing plants. Nearly 325 varieties of orchids can be found in Meghalaya, which is another reason for its fame. The Khasi highlands’ Mawsmai, Mawmluh, and Sohrarim woods contain the greatest variety of these.
Why is Meghalaya said to as being halfway to heaven?
Meghalaya is the place to go if you yearn for both adventure and calm at the same time. Meghalaya, which is in North-East India, is also referred to as the “Abode of Clouds.” The slogan for this state, “halfway to heaven,” justifies the abundance of natural beauty it has to offer.
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