1. Shad Suk MynsiemThe Shad Suk Mynsiem is celebrated in April. The rituals or ceremonies are conducted by individual family clans or the Khasi state (Hima). The dance is performed to signify the matrilineal and patrilineal structure of the Khasi society. The dance is performed by unmarried girls dressed in their traditional best, dancing in slow painful steps with coyness; while the man circles the women in their lashing out swords and whips. The significance of the dance is that a man is the protector of a woman's honour. The Dance is performed at the Weiking Grounds near the capital city of Shillong and other places.
2. Nongkrem FestivalThe most important of festivals among the Khasis, the Nongkrem Festival is celebrated every year at Smit, 15 kms away from Shillong. It is an essential seat of the Hima Khyriem (Chief of Khyriem). The rituals are performed by the Syiem, the head of the Khasi state and ka Syiem Sad (head priestess) who is revered as the caretaker of the ceremonies and the people. The festival is celebrated for good harvest, peace and prosperity. People from all over the country and the world come to witness the celebration that is accompanied by young women performing the Shad Kynthei and the men circling them performing the Shad Mystieh, as a symbol of male power and protection over the women.
3. Behdeinkhlam Festival
4. Shad SukraThe Shad Sukra is celebrated by the Jaintia people every year in the month of April or May. It is a celebration before the sowing season. Every Jaintia farmer waits for this festival before he can begin the sowing of seeds. Rituals and dance are accompanied by the drums and the flute to pray for a bountiful and fruitful season. Men and Women take part in the festivals in their traditional best, heavily decked in gold ornaments. One can go and witness this opulence of culture at Jowai Town, West Jaintia Hills. The town is situated 64 kms away from the capital city of Shillong.
5. Wangala FestivalThe Wangala festival is one of the most important festivals of the Garo people. It is a post-harvest festival celebrated to mark the end of the agricultural year. It is a thanksgiving festival to the god of fertility, known as Misi-A-Gilpa-Saljong-Galapa. Today it is popularly known as The Hundred Drums festival. Accompanied by the cries of the leading warrior, he leads the boys and girls to synchronised dance steps with hand and heads gesturing movements. The festival is celebrated from September and December at popular places across Garo Hills. If one wishes to witness the true traditional way of celebration by the Garo people who are still practising the old religion, they can be found at 'Songsarek' (animistic) villages like Sadolpara in West Garo Hills. The modern more commercialised version of the festival is celebrated at Asasang village in West Garo Hills. The state-sponsored festivals attract local, national and foreign tourists who come to be entertained by the dances competitions, gorge themselves on local food and drinks made from fermented rice popularly called Rice Beer.
Other Festivals:While the cultural and traditional festivals are the main attractions of Meghalaya, there are also other various modern day festivals advertised and sponsored by the State Government to attract a more varied group of visitors looking for more.
6. Strawberry FestivalMeghalaya has been hosting the Strawberry festival every year to promote farmers and food production from the fruit. The climate of the state is perfectly fit for the much-loved fruit. People throng to Umsning and Sohliya village in Ri-Bhoi district every February on Valentine's Day to enjoy lush and sweet strawberries. The festival is not only for families and loved ones to come and enjoy but to contribute to the growth of the local farmers and support their economy.
7. Bacardi NH7 WeekenderMeghalaya is not complete without its music scene. The capital city of Shillong is dubbed as the Rock Capital of India for a reason. With the pleasant climate and a laid-back attitude of everyday life, the youth and the old indulge in music. The Bacardi NH7 Weekender is a yearly event that is much awaited by the music-loving crowd of the state. With the scenic beauty and immense hospitality of the local people, the festival is indeed a happy one. The active part of the festival by offering food and drink stalls offering the best of the local cuisine. It is a must visit by music lovers from all over the country and abroad.
There is much to see and experience in the beautiful state of Meghalaya. Every day there is a reason to celebrate and give thanks for the beauty of living in such proximity to nature; her generosity is revered and celebrated by all who are dependant on her.