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Fairs & Festivals : Ka Pomblang Nongkrem Festival

Start Date : November-2011 End Date : November-2011
Venue : Smit, Meghalaya
City : Smit Country : India
Category : Meghalaya

Ka Pomblang Nongkrem Festival

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Event Profile
The Ka Pomblang Nongkrem Festival is celebrated at Smit, the capital of the Khyrem Syiemship, near the capital city of Shillong. Organized in the month of November, it is basically a harvest festival of Meghalaya that carries on for five days. It is the most significant festival of the Khasi community of Meghalaya.

One of the important rituals of the festival is the Pomblang Ceremony, meaning decapitation of goats. In this ceremony, people offer goats to the 'Syiem' of Khyrem, the administrative head of the Hima (Khasi State). The goats are sacrificed and offered to the ancestors of the ruling clan and the deity of Shillong peak (U-Lei Shillong). The ceremony is presided over by Ka Syiem Sad, the eldest sister of the king, who acts as the chief priest. Also forming a part of the ceremony is the music coming from the Tangmuri (pipes).

By the fourth day, the religious rituals get over and people dress up in their traditional finery for the performance of the Nongkrem dance. On the same day, an opening dance or royal dance takes place at dawn break. The young girls from the 'Syiem' house take part in this maiden dance. Even the Syiem Sad participates in the dance, shaded by an umbrella. In the Nongkrem dance, young boys dress up in multi hued silk dhotis, coat and a plumed turban and are adorned with sparkling ornaments.

These boys perform the dance with a sword or spear in one hand and usually a white Yak hair whisk in their left hand. They sway on the beats of the drums and to the tunes of the Tangmuri (pipes). Maidens also take part in the dance, dressed in silk-robes, gold and silver ornaments and a silver crown. They move in the inner circle, while the boys form a protective ring around them. The festival comes to an end on the fifth day with the offering of a prayer of thanksgiving to the Creator by the Syiem.

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