Explore Meghalaya Part 3 – Festivals of Meghalaya

Smart Village Movement, April 21, 2022

Regia Kom for Smart Village Movement in Alliance with Berkeley Haas

Most of the popular Meghalayan festivals are those connected with agricultural activities, their human nature bond, and their thanksgiving ceremony to the deities. Like the Hindus, the Garos used to show reverence to the ancestors by offering food to the departed souls and by the erection of memorial stones, the festivals of Meghalaya are diverse in nature. The three tribes of Meghalaya, the Garo, Khasi, and Jaintia tribe celebrate very culturally rich, traditional as well as modern festivals. Let’s take you through some of the popular festivals celebrated in the state of Meghalaya.

Wangala Festival

The biggest among the Garo festivals is the ‘Wangala’ usually celebrated in the month of October-November, is a celebration of thanksgiving after harvest in which Misi-Saljong, the deity who provides mankind with nature’s bounties and ensures their prosperity, is honored. A huge feast and rice beer are prepared well in advance and the highlight of the celebrations is the colorful Wangala dance in which men and women take part in their best traditional attires. Lines are formed by males and females separately and dance to the rhythmic beat of drums and gongs and blowing of horns by the males.

Picture Credit: dmfolkstudio

Shad Suk Mynsiem Festival

Shad Suk Mynsiem is the most important festival of the Khasi Clans of Meghalaya celebrated by the Jaintia and Garo Clans of Meghalaya. This festival is celebrated in April and is also known as the ‘Move of cheerful hearts’. This is a three-day festival and is popularly known as the ‘Shad Phur’. This festival is celebrated primarily in the Khasi Hills close to Shillong.

Picture Credit: specialholidays.com

Nongkrem Festival

The Nongkrem Festival, one of pomp and gaiety is also celebrated among the Khasis. It is a thanksgiving festival that is celebrated for about 5 days in the month of October or November. Young women are seen to be performing the Shad Kynthei, and the men would circle them while performing the Shad Mystieh, symbolizing male power and protection over the women.Visitors from all over the world come here to witness the Khasi men and women performing the traditional dance in this festival.

Picture Credit: Adotrip

Behdienkhlam Festival

Behdiemkhlam festival of Meghalaya is popularly celebrated by the Jaintia or Pnar people of the Niamtre religion in the month of July for three days. This festival is the most important dance festival among the Jaintia tribe and is celebrated before the seed sowing season. This festival is symbolic of driving away from the evil spirit, plague, or diseases like cholera by beating the roof of every house with bamboo poles. A series of ceremonies and rituals are performed by the priest, along with the beating of drums and flute. Men play the drums and flutes, and women watch the men perform dressed in traditional attire with gold ornaments.

The main attraction of the festival is the chosen tree trunk which is chosen thoughtfully and is believed to bring good luck to anybody who touches it. For its great crowd and bright events, the festival gathers a lot of visitors every year.

Picture Credit: meghalaya.gov.in

Chad Sukra

Chad Sukra is celebrated by the Jaintia Tribes in Meghalaya once every year before the sowing season. It is believed to perform certain prayers and rituals before the sowing season in order to have a prosperous harvest. It is one of the most significant occasions for the Niamtre religion. Women and men come together in their traditional outfits with heavy gold ornaments to perform the rituals with their traditional music and dance. This festival is one of a kind and a lot of visitors come to witness this festival from far places. 

Picture Credit : hoblist.com

Cherry Blossom Festival

Speaking of Cherry Blossom Festival, Japan is the first place to strike our minds, but let us introduce you to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Meghalaya, India. Celebrated in the month of November every year, Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the most sought-after festivals in India. Shillong, the capital and the main city of Meghalaya state is seen with beautiful pink cherry blossom trees looking so graceful and pleasant. Trees are decorated with lights that look magical at night. The festival is filled with fun and entertainment, there are several music gigs, food, and craft stalls, beauty pageants, etc to keep you occupied throughout the time you are there. Amazingly you also get to see some glimpse of Korean culture at the festival in the form of dishes, music, and clothes which are known to be quite popular among the youth in the region.

Picture Credit: photographyte

Autumn Festival

Autumn Festival is a well-known modern-day festival celebrated in the month of October in Meghalaya, India. This festival is mainly celebrated to mark the onset of the autumn season. One can see the rich local culture as well as other cultures being showcased at this festival. The locals and the tourist enjoy several events like dance and music performances, display of local craftsmanship, cuisines, tasting of local wine, sports events, and kite flying competitions. This festival encourages the people to showcase their rich culture and budding entrepreneurs and businesses to sell and market their products in the festival.

Picture Credit: Indiatours.com

Strawberry Festival

Strawberry Festival is celebrated in the state of Meghalaya to primarily promote the farming of strawberry fruit in the state. The Government of Meghalaya has been encouraging the cultivation of strawberries among the farmers as the state has a conducive climate to produce good strawberries. This festival is perfect for families to enjoy and learn more about strawberry farming while supporting the state’s economic development by contributing to the growth of strawberry farmers. This festival happens in the month of February.

Picture Credit : hellotravel.com

Bacardi NH7 Weekender Festival

Bacardi NH7 Weekender is the festival that is most awaited on the list of music lovers. This magnetic event which happens in October-November is a three days affair that draws audiences from multiple destinations to experience the astonishing line-up featuring top musicians, and indie bands, both Indian and international. Every year the flagship event is staged in Pune and is hosted in many other cities, out of which Meghalaya edition turns out to be the most special one considering the popularity of music culture in this region and the natural breathtaking landscape of Meghalaya just adds all the feel every music lover needs.

Picture Credit: Jishnu Chakraborty

While it’s always a great time to visit beautiful Meghalaya, visiting at the time of the festivals of Meghalaya is even more special. Are you interested in visiting Meghalaya during the festive seasons? Contact these travel resources : 

  1. Time GoTravels
  2. Challo Hoppo
  3. Go Somewhere
  4. Encamp Adventures
  5. Travenjo

Find more options on Meghalaya Tourism