One of Meghalaya's most colourful religious festivals, Behdeinkhlam, is celebrated for three days during July at Jowai. The word literally means 'driving away of evil (plague) by wooden sticks'.
This Festival is connected with a series of religious rites. People dance on the street to the accompaniment of drum beating and pipe playing. The women do not participate in the dancing but have an important role to play at home by offering sacrificial food to the spirits of the ancestors.
Each locality prepares a decorative tower-like structure called a rath. These are carried by 30 to 40 strong people to a small lake at Aitnar for immersion. The festival climaxes when the khnong (the most sacred tree) is brought to the centre of each locality.
In the afternoon datlawakor is played between two teams from the upper and lower valleys of the Myntdu River. It is a kind of soccer with a wooden ball. Those who win are believed to be blessed with a good harvest.
The Jaintia People have another dance festival for entertainment. It is called the Laho dance. Members of both the sexes participate in this dance festival, attired in their best finery, usually two young men on either side of a girl, linking arms together, dance in step. In place of the usual drums and pipe, there is a cheer leader, usually a man gifted with the talent of spontaneous recitation. He recites ribald couplets to the merriment of the audience.
The annual Chad Sukra (sowing festival) is celebrated during the middle of April or early May every year by the Pnar people.
Pnar people believe that a farmer could start sowing the seeds on his land only after the festival is over. The festival is observe to invoke God, the Creator, to protect their crops from all forms of natural calamities besides ushering in peace and harmony among the people.