- Gargee Nandy
Behdienkhalm is a festival celebrated by the Pnars of the Jaintia community to drive away disease and pestilence and pray for a bountiful harvest.
This year due to the ongoing pandemic the festivities were muted with the focus being on observing the rituals sans the fanfare.
Typically, Behdienkhlam is celebrated for three days, and on the afternoon of the third day people would gather in a place called Aitnar and both young and old would dance to the tunes of the pipes and drums.
Also, tall-decorated structures called rots and a wooden post called ‘Khnongs’ would be made especially for Behdienkhalm and brought to the pool.
This year a tall artistic bamboo ‘rots’ was seen sensitizing the public on coronavirus.
Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma took to Facebook to appreciated the innovativeness and the public service carried on the rot bearers. The rot was carrying the message “vaccine is the only shield to prevent coronavirus.”
The Meghalaya CM also added, “ We Miss the pageantry and tradition of Behdienkhlam, but, to experience the colourful festival again, we must all ensure to get vaccinated.”