Shad Nongkrem festival celebrated in Meghalaya

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Smit, Meghalaya, Nov 6 (UNI) 'Shad Nongkrem', the thanksgiving festival of tribal Khasi was celebrated here today with traditional fanfare and fervour.

Dressed in traditional attire, young men and virgin women from 'Hima Khyrim' (erstwhile independent Khasi state) and the common people danced to rhythmic beats of the drums and the clanking of cymbals and the flute striking up a melody in the background.

Smit village, about 12 km from Shillong-- the state capital of Meghalaya, is the cultural centre of the Khasis.

The ritual dance featured virgin girls in traditional costumes and heavy gold ornaments who danced within a circle with the men of open sword in one hand and a white yak-hair whisk in the other in front of the 'Iing Sad' (central House).

The dance was witnessed by people from across the state including tourists, senior government officials and chiefs of other 'Himas'. The important part the five-day religious festival, which concluded today, was the ritualistic sacrifice of goats performed by the Syiem and the high priest of 'Hima Khyrim' to thank the Almighty for a good harvest and followed by a series of rituals like offerings to the Gods and to the ancestors, 'Ka Iawbei U Thawlang'.

All state government establishments in East Khasi Hills district remained closed on the occasion.

UNI

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