SHILLONG, Apr 9: Despite heavy down pour in Shillong, hundreds of boys and girls decked up in their traditiol attire of fine silk, gold and silver, participated in the Shad Suk Mynsiem Festival (dance of the happy hearts) at Weiking ground here.
Shad Suk Mynsiem, also known as Weiking dance, is a folk dance form where the Khasi maidens graciously move inside the circle, while the men with whips and swords danced with full zeal outside the circle.
Thousands of spectators form the State, including tourists, assembled at the venue to witness the colourful traditiol thanksgiving dance festival held at the Weiking ground in Jaiaw.
The festival is being observed for the past 108th years, which concluded on Monday.
People belonging to the Niam Khasi, including young and old, took part in the dance festival accompanied by the beats of the drums and pipes (Tangmuri) to thank God for all His blessings that He has bestowed upon them.
This year an 88-year-old man Billy Thabah from Sohiong took part in the ‘dance of the joyful soul’ on the closing day of the festival.
Speaking to reporters, while taking a break from dancing, Billy Thabah said, “This is for the first time I’m taking part in the festival after a gap of 25 years as I want to encourage other youths to participate in this traditiol dance of the Khasis.”
Asked on the reason for his participation this year, Thabah said, “I want to try and teach the youth the origil dancing techniques and moves.”
Thabah said there was lack of equipment, traditiol orments and attires during his days but for today’s generation everything is easily available.
Earlier, while speaking to reporters, president of Seng Khasi (Kmei) Bantei Rumnong said, “An elderly person despite his (Thabah) age has participated in the dance festival. We are delighted as this will encourage our youth to come forward and take part in this traditiol dance.”
Asked on the increasing number of Khasi faithful shying away from the age-old traditiol faith and associating themselves with other faiths, he said, “Seng Khasi from time to time try to unite its entire faithfuls and teach them the values of the traditiol Khasi faith. However, some people might feel that the Khasi faith is not right for them and they prefer to associate with other faiths.”
The three-day annual festival reflects the matrilineal and patrilineal aspects of the Khasi society. The man with whips and swords circle the virgins, as protectors of their honour.
The festival was first organized at the Weiking ground on April 14 and 15, 1911. However, from 1902 till 1910, the festival is being held at Mawkhar.
The Khasis perform 6 different dances in Shad Suk Mynsiem. They are Mastieh, Pyllun, Padiah, Klang, Dum Dum and Shad lai. The dances take place till sunset.