- NET Web Desk
The renowned and recreational ‘Behdienkhlam Festival’ – a cultural occasion seeking blessings from the deity, for a good harvest unfolds in Meghalaya with traditional fervour and gaiety.
Celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm, this festival is observed annually in July after the sowing period, and is considered to be one of the most important dance festival of Jaintia tribes.
A series of religious rites is being performed by the Daloi (chief). During the Behdienkhlam Cultural Festival Tour, young men hit each home’s roof with bamboo poles – a symbolic gesture of chasing-away evil spirits, plague, and disease.
The key attraction of this celebration is the conflict between two groups, opposing each other for a sizeable undressed beam. This enables the heavy beam get across a muddy ditch called Wah-eit-nar. A lot of horse play enters into this part of the event, when mud is smeared by the participants on each other.
Additionally, the ceremony and ritual last for three days. On the third day, people congregate at a location called Aitnar, where both young and elderly dance to the beat of the pipes and drums.
The dancers get emotional when tall-decorated structures called rots and a wooden post-called khnongs are brought into the pool.
It is desirable that there should be rain on the day of the festival. The climax of this well-known event in North East India takes place, when people dressed up in their best attire congregate in Mynthong, to witness a game played similar to football, called dad-lawakor.
The game is played with a wooden ball between the Northerners and the Southerners. The side wins the match by putting the ball on the other side would signify that in the following year there would be a great harvest in that particular region.