Nongkrem dance festival of Khasi tribals celebrated

The ancient Nongkrem dance festival of Khasi tribals in Meghalaya was today observed amidst pomp, joy and faithful fervour here, the headquarter and capital of the erstwhile Khasi state (Hima Khyrim), 15 km south from the state capital.

Similar to all other indigenous festivals of tribals in Meghalaya, the Nongkrem dance festival is performed to appease the all-powerful Goddess Ka Blei Synshar for a rich bumper harvest and prosperity of the people.

The Syiem (King) of Khyrim along with the high priest performs the Pomblang ceremony, where a goat is sacrificed to appease the Lei Shyllong; the god of Shillong peak and also to the ancestors of the ruling clan.

The religious part of the festival precedes dances, in which unmarried girls in all their exotic costumes participate.

Attired in their majestic and traditional regalia, young men also take to the dancing arena in front of the Iing Sad (thatched palace). They hold swords and white Yak hair whisks in their hands, keeping time to the changing beats of drums and haunting tunes of the tangmuri (pipes).

As people come from all over the state of Khyrim, little markets spring up in the field outside the Iing Sad compound adding to the revelry.