The state of Meghalaya is located in the North-eastern region of India which is known widely for its beautiful mountain views and cultural values. The state is one of the 7th northeastern states of the country that attracts tourists from various regions of the world. The translation of the term Meghalaya means the home of clouds and as the name suggests the state is the centre of thunderclouds and evergreen landscapes. The state is filled with natural beauty with deep caves, dense forests, beautiful mountains and waterfalls. Its mesmerizing essence of culture often amazed tourists which also includes the celebration of various festivals.
There are many festivals celebrated with joy and happiness across the state of Meghalaya which holds great significance in the life of people living there. Meghalaya is a state of multiple tribes mainly the Garo, Khasis and Jaintias and the state festivals celebrated are particularly significant for each tribe. The colourful festivals of Meghalaya are loved by people from different areas and they visit the place to watch some of the unique festivals celebrated each year.
Two of the major festivals of Meghalaya are:
The Wangala Festival is common among the Garo tribe as it is observed by them each year symbolizing the ending of the agricultural season. Agriculture is an important means of livelihood for the people of Meghalaya as many of the lives depend upon cultivation. The Wangala Festival is known popularly by another name called Hundred Drums Festival as during the celebration of this auspicious festival a special drum called Nagara is thumped and beaten along with which people dance gracefully and with full of energy. The attires of the dancers is followed by a dress code where male wears half coat, dhotis and turbans adding feathers on their dresses. The females also used feathers commonly to wrap in their heads and dressed in colourful costumes and beautiful dresses, blouses made up of silk material.
SHAD SUK MYNSIEM
Shad Suk Mynsiem is the most crucial festival of the Khasi tribes of Meghalaya but also celebrated by other tribes such as Garo and Jaintais. This festival is an extraordinary and unique one which is all about moves, therefore, it is variedly called as "Move of cheerful hearts". Shad Suk Mynsiem festival also known as Shad Phur is a festival of three long days celebrated during April month among the Khasi hills. Nature is something adored by the Khasi people so they celebrate this festival in-between nature as showing gratitude to mother earth for better harvesting and for seed sowing. The dance form of the festival shows women is soft steps but men with more energetic steps. Some of the musical instruments such as drums, cymbals or bells and flutes are used as songs for dancing. There is a restriction in the celebration that a woman who is not married or not a virgin cannot participate in the dance performance. Shad Suk Mynsiem symbolizes women fertility as receptacles of seeds and bearers of fruit whereas men are cultivators who nurture seeds until the process of harvesting.
There are other important festivals observed in the state of Meghalaya such as:
- Shad Sukra festival- This important festival is celebrated by the Jaintia tribes seeking blessings for good production and protection of crops
- Nongkrem Festival- The festival is observed by the Khasi clans celebrated for five days each year as a thanksgiving
- Behdeinkhlam Festival- It is a festival for four consecutive days celebrated by the Jaintias which means chasing away Plague.
Strawberry Festival, Autumn Festival, Ranikor Festival and Bacardi NH7 Weekender are also some of the minor festivals of the state Meghalaya celebrated with fun.