5 things you need to know about SHAD SUK MYNSIEM: The annual spring festival of Khasi tribes

Gone are the days when people used to dance in beats of folk music to celebrate their happiness, joy and every other happening no matter how small or big they might be. May be the culture is dying but the Khasi tribes of Meghalaya leave no stone unturned when it comes to celebration. They celebrate their winters as well as spring.

Music and dance are an integral part of every celebration and festival of Khasi tribes of Meghalaya. One such festival is the infamous Shad Suk Mynsiem.

Shad Suk Mynsiem:
Shad Suk Mynsiem is also known as Weiking Dance, is a rich traditional dance of the Khasis that happens annually during the month of April and May. It is also known as ‘Dance of happy hearts’. The celebration takes place mainly in the Khasi Hills that is situated near Shilong. It is generally the celebration of agricultural harvesting and starting of implantation of seeds.
So here are the 5 things you need to know about this annual harvesting festival:
1) The dance is a ritual and symbolizes fertility also. The women are receptacles of seeds and bearers of fruits and the men are the cultivators which protect and nurture the seeds.

The male and female dancers dance in two different circles with women in the inner circle and men in the outer as they protect their women.
2) It is a requisite for the females to be unmarried or virgin but there are no such restrictions for the males.

3) The dance is supported by various musical instruments like Tangmuri, flute, and drums etc.
4) Female dancers wear cloth draped from waist to ankle known as Jingpim shad.They wear full sleeve blouse with lace work all round the neck, necklace made of red coral and beads, and golden earrings.

Male dancers wear a golden silk turban, a silver chain across the shoulders and arrows tied to the waist. They carry a ceremonial sword along with a handkerchief.

5) Child dancers also participate in the dance and towards the end, they leave making the inner circle smaller.

And the male dancers engage in sword fights . The people of Khasi tribes offer their gratitude to God as a medium of this dance.