The Nongkrem Dance Festival is an extremely popular religious festival celebrated in the state of Meghalaya located in the North eastern zone of India. The festival is generally celebrated in the month of November. It lasts for about five days during the autumn season amidst chilling winters. It is the most popular festival for the inhabitants of Khasi hills. It can be termed as a grand carnival that involves flow of wealth, sacrifice of animals and an environment of religious fervor.
Know the Nongkrem Dance Festival:
The Nongkrem dance festival is celebrated during Autumn at Smit, the cultural centre of the Khasi Hills. A five day long religious festival of the Khasis, Ka Pomblang Nongkrem dance is popularly known as Nongkrem dance
Similar to all other festivals of the Meghalaya, Nongkrem Dance Festival is performed to appease the all powerful Goddess Ka Blei Synshar for a rich bumper harvest and prosperity of the people.
Rituals of Nongkrem Dance Festival:
The Syiem of Khyrim along with the high priest performs the Pomblang ceremony. He offers oblation to a Lei Shyllong; the God of Shyllong peak by sacrificing a cock. An important part of this festival is Pomblang (sacrifice of goats). Then offerings are made to the ancestor and ancestress of the ruling clan to the first uncle to the deity of Shillong peak.
Religious part of the festival precedes dances, in which unmarried girls in all their exotic costumes participate. The men’s dancing is naturally more vigorous and energetic. They hold a sword in their right hand and usually a white Yak hair whisk in their left hand, keeping time to the changing beats of drums and playing of the tangmuri or pipes.
The venue of festival celebration is fixed since years and that is Smit, the cultural centre of the Khasi Hills in Meghalaya, India is about 11km from Shillong. This festival was initially named Ka Pemblang Nongrem, which over the years has been popularly termed as Nongkrem Dance Festival.
Meghalaya celebrates many fairs and festivals most of which are dedicated to appease the all powerful Goddess Ka Blei Synshar for a rich bumper harvest and prosperity of the people.
The most important part of Nongkrem Dance Festival is the ritual of Pemblang ceremony, which is performed by the Syiem of Khyrim along with the high priest. It refers to the sacrifice of an animal. The priest then offers an oblation to Lei Shyllong; the god of Shyllong peak by sacrificing a cock. The offerings are made to the ancestors of the ruling clan.
Apart from the religious practices there are a number of cultural programs and events that are organized. Normally, young and unmarried girls participate in them. During the cultural programs girls can be seen wearing colorful and beautiful outfits. Not only girls but men also participate in the cultural events. The dances performed by men are more energetic. They hold a sword in their right hand and usually a white Yak hair whisk in their left hand, keeping time to the changing beats of drums and playing of the tangmuri or pipes.
- Venue: Smit
- Distance: 11 kms
- How To Reach: By Bus and by taxi