Dance Gold

Dance Gold
Dance Gold

Festival Fiesta -‘nongkrem Dance’ of the Khasis of Mevhalaya

The Nongkrem Dance is the most important festival of the Khyrim state and is associated with goat sacrifice It is held at Smit, which is 15 kilometres (9 miles), southwest of Shillong. The words Ka Pomblang Nongkrem literally means ‘Goat- Killing Ceremony of Nongkrem’.

The word nongkrem is used because the festival was held at Nongkrem, the headquarters of Khyrim state in the past. Many religious rites are performed during the five- day festival. Drums and Pipes are played continuously to mark the occasion while young virgin women come out to dance on the specially prepared field.

The Nongkrem dance or Shad Nongkrem is held annually in November and lasts for five days. During three consecutive nights in the five day festival, prayers are offered to Ka Pah Syntiew and U Suid Nia Tong Syiem for a good harvest, peace and prosperity for all people. Ka Pah Syntiew is a music maiden and the ancestral mother of the royal clan. U Suid Nia Tong Syiem is her ancestral maternal uncle.

On the fourth day, a dance is performed by young Khasi men and virgin women of the entire clan who come dressed in their traditional costumes and heavy gold ornaments in front of the Ling Sad (Central House).

The women dance in the centre called Kak Shad Kynthei with such tiny stips that the lifting of the feet is hardly seen. Their arms are held at the sides and they are solemnly cast down to show modesty and obedience. The silver or gold crowns that they wear on their heads signify the glory and dignity of the Khasi Matrilineal society.

The ‘Tiew Lasubon’ is a rare sweet scented, golden coloured, flower found only in the deep jungles. On the crown indicates the purity of women. They wear the finest silver and gold chains, bracelets and earrings. When the daughters of the royal come out to dance, umbrellas are used to cover the heads of the princesses. The dance performed by the man is called, “Ka Shad Mastieh”. They dance round the south side of the circle holding sword on their right hand and whisks in their left. The sword symbolizes the man’s defence of himself, his house, his wife, his children, his mother, and his whisk, his care and sound advice. The men wear dhotis full sleeved shirts and embroided sleeveless coats and turbans. They all dance to music of the ‘Tangmuri’ (pipes) and drums.

As people come from all over the state Khyrim, little markets spring up in the field outside the Ingest Compound, and this adds to the rivalry.

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Castlevania SOTN: Dance of Gold

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