The Khasis, Jaintias and Garos of Meghalaya celebrate several festivals which are directly and indirectly connected with religion. They are full of joy and happiness which is expressed outwardly in the form of dance, feast and worship.
Shad Suk Mynsiem Dance
In every religious ritual of Khasi tribe, the grand finale is the performance of a dance, a Thanks Giving Dance called 'Shad Phur', which is now called "Shad Suk Mynsiem." The religious rituals or ceremonies might concern certain families, clans, villages, raijs, or the state (Hima).
The Shad Suk Mynsiem reflects the matrilineal and patrilineal aspect of the Khasi society. The man with whips and swords circles the virgins, as protectors of the honors of womanhood having a single strength and resource while the men have in them twelve strength and resource. Shad Suk Mynsiem is celebrated in the month of April at the Weiking grounds near Shillong and at other places in Meghalaya.
To the first time visitor the experience of driving through undulating hills and narrow roads to Smit, where the famous Nongkrem Dance is held at the courtyard of the Syiem of Hima Khyriem (chief of Khyriem), is thrilling and full of fun. For the "serious traveler" and students of culture and history there is a lot to learn and store from this dance of the Khasi tribe which is held every year at Smit which is 15 Kilometers from Shillong.
It is one of the most important festivals of the Khasi tribe and is celebrated with pomp and gaiety. Hundreds of travelers from different parts of this country and from abroad come to witness the festival as is performed in the traditional style by the Syiem, the head of the Khasi state, and Ka Syiem Sad, the Syiem priestess, who is considered the caretaker of all religious ceremonies, the ministers and the common people. The fourth day of the festival is when most visitors throng to the courtyard to witness the dance performed by ladies and men decked in some of the most exquisite traditional attires. Young virgin girls wear expensive silk and gold ornaments dance the Ka Shad Kynthei in the inner circle of the arena, while men dressed in dhoti, full-sleeved shirt, sleeveless coat and a turban with sword in their right hand perform the Ka Shad Mastieh in the outer circle.