SHILLONG, April 11: Young boys and girls decked in their traditiol attire of fine silk, gold and silver, the Khasi maidens graciously moves inside the circle while the men with whips and swords danced with full zeal outside the circle in the Shad Suk Mynsiem (Dance of the Happy Hearts) at Weiking ground.
Thousands of spectator’s form the state including tourists witnessed the colourful traditiol thanksgiving dancing festival observed since time immemorial, held at Weiking Ground, Jaiaw in the city for past 105th years which came to a close on Monday.
People belonging to the ‘Niam Khasi’ including young and old took part in the dancing festival accompanied by the beats of the drums and Pipes (Tangmuri) to give thanks to God for all the blessings that he has bestowed.
“Shad Suk Mynsiem is a festival were people come and dance with an open heart to give thanks to the Almighty for his generosity he has given us throughout the year be it in harvest, health, wealth or peace,” Bantei Rumnong, president Seng Khasi (Kmei) said.
He informed that 200-250 dancers normally take part in the first two days of the festival. However the numbers increase to 1500 dancers on the last day coming from across the Khasi – Jaintia Hills region.
Asked if anything different has been added to this year festival, he said, “We have not made any changes when it comes to the beat of the drums or the moves dancers make since it has been sanctified right from the early times. However we have made certain few changes to make the festival more colourful like adding more decoration and other arrangements.”
He observed that during his days there were only 15 to 20 dancers but now in the present generation the number of dancers keeps on increasing every year.
Asked if support is being provided by the state government, he said, “”Fincial support has been given to us by the department of Arts and Culture but the support we are getting is not enough when it comes to organising such a big event.”
He added, “The amount we are getting from the government is not even a tenth of the entire expenditure cost of the festival.”
The Seng Khasi (Kmei) president also urged the state government to provide more assistance when it comes to such kind of festivals.
The Three day Annual festivity reflects the matrilineal and patrilineal aspect of the Khasi society. The man with whips and swords circle the virgins, as protectors of their honor.
The festival was first organized at the Weiking ground on April 14 and 15, 1911. However, from 1902 till 1910, the festival was held at Mawkhar.
The festival is also a message that life should be meaningful, eventful and purposeful.