Shillong: Hundreds of tribal Khasi men and women on Monday celebrated the “Shad Suk Mynsiem” (dance of peaceful hearts) in the mountainous state of Meghalaya to display their admiration for God.
Governor Phagu Chauhan, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong and Voice of the People Party legislator, Dr Brightstarwell Marbaniang attended the annual Thanksgiving dance.
“Shad Suk Mynsiem” was performed at the Weiking Ground here to celebrate the season of harvest and also to pay obeisance to God.
Clad in traditional Khasi attire, young virgin maidens wore colourful and exotic silk dresses and were decked up in ornaments of gold and silver, while the men wore silk dhotis, waistcoats, plumed turbans and ornaments.
They danced to the accompaniment of traditional music.
The maidens danced in the centre while the males danced around them to represent protection for the family and the community. Being a matrilineal society, the female is the centre of the well-being and progress of the family and hearth.
“ The ‘Shad Suk Mynsiem’ or thanksgiving dance is one such celebration to show the Khasi admiration for God. It is organised throughout the Khasi Hills during springtime when nature rejuvenates itself and mankind is filled with the hope of a rich harvest from the sown seeds,” one of the elders of the Seng Khasi, a movement to preserve and propagate the indigenous religion and culture.
The Seng Khasi’s foremost task during the early 1900s was to preserve this traditional dance, which began to disappear due to the oppression of the colonial rulers.
In 1910, the Seng Khasi leaders decided to shift the venue from Mawkhar to a more open space to its present location at Lympung Weiking.
It was on April 14 and 15, 1911 that the first “Shad Suk Mynsiem” was held at the spacious Lympung Weiking.
The Seng Khasi have been able to preserve all the aspects of this dance form, including the beat of drums, cymbals and the shrill piping sound of the tangmuri (a traditional trumpet).