Nongkrem Dance – Religious Dance of Meghalaya
Meghalaya is a unique state where you can find pristine and untouched natural beauty as well as interesting traditions and culture. It seems like the perfect combination for someone who loves to travel, and the more you do in the mountains of Meghalaya, the more you will see the enthusiasm of the people here. It is a combination of happiness and curiosity.
The state is also known for daily attractions such as the Autumn Festival, Strawberry Festival, Cherry Blossom Festival, and more.
This is why a large number of tourists visit the state to observe various ethnicities and countries, along with numerous colorful festivals.
History of Nongkrem Dance
The history of the Nongkrem Dance dates back several centuries. It is believed to have originated during the reign of U Mar Phalyngki, a powerful ruler of the Khasi people in the early 19th century. The dance was initially performed as a religious ritual to appease the local deities and seek their blessings for a good harvest and prosperity.
The Nongkrem Dance is performed annually during the autumn season, usually in the month of November, after the harvest is complete. The dance is held at the Smit village, which is the cultural and administrative center of the Khasi community.
Festival of Nongkrem Dance
Nongkrem Dance Festival is held in the fall of Smit, the cultural hub of Kasi Hills. A five-day ritual of Khasis, the Ka Pomblang Nongkrem Dance, often referred to as the Nongkrem Dance
A significant part of the
festival is virgin women wearing traditional costumes with heavy gold and dancing in special theaters.
Like other festivals in Meghalaya, the Nongkrem Dance Festival is held to please the Holy Spirit Ka Blei Synshar, praying for a good harvest and prosperity for the people.
Nongkrem Dance Ceremony
Syiem from Khyrim performs the Pomblang ceremony with the High Priest.
Gave a Ray Sharon; The god Shylong culminates in the sacrifice of a chicken. An essential part of this festival is the Pomblang (goat sacrifice). Then worship the clan’s ancestors and mother-in-laws, uncles, and the Xilong Peak deities.
Festival Events During the Nongkrem Dance
Nomgkrem Dance Festival, traditional dances are performed by men and women from the Khasi tribe. They wear national costumes and perform traditional dances to worship God and their ancestors.
The male dance is called ‘Ka Shad Mastieh’ and they hold a sword in their right hand and a whip in their left hand and dance to the rhythm of a drum and beat tangmuri or hookah.
The women’s dance is called “Ka Shad Kyntei” and is performed in the inner circle and the men in the outer circle.
Local people have also set up a small market to exhibit and sell their handicrafts. They also prepare local dishes like jadoh, tungrymbai, ja qia, dohkhlieh, and others. This is the best time for tourists to visit Meghalaya and enjoy the local cuisine and witness the beauty, wealth, and culture of the state.
Costume Of Nongkrem Dance
The Nongkrem dance, a vibrant and mesmerizing traditional dance of the Khasi tribe in Meghalaya, India, showcases not only the rich cultural heritage of the region but also the opulent costumes worn by the dancers. The dancers, both male and female, are adorned with exquisite ornaments and dressed in elaborate attire that adds to the allure of the performance.
Female Costumes and Ornaments
The female dancers of the Nongkrem dance don a regal ensemble that exudes elegance and grace. Their costumes are a blend of traditional silk cloth, velvet jackets, and undergarments known as Nohta Sor. The silk cloth, intricately woven by skilled weavers from the Salkuchi of Sylhet, drapes around their waist, extending to their ankles. The full-sleeved velvet jackets, either black or brown in color, add a touch of sophistication to their attire.
But it is the array of ornaments that truly captures the attention. The Khasi girls wear beautifully designed ornaments, often made of gold, that enhance their overall appearance. A crown called Pansu-giat adorns their heads, accompanied by earrings and necklaces made of gold, pearls, or corals. Armlets, known as Syngkha or Mahu, grace their arms.
while a variety of necklaces, ranging from red beads to corals with golden balls, accentuate their necks. Silver and gold chains referred to as Tad-Tyrpeng, serve as shoulder ornaments. The neck ornament, known as Chik in Bengali and Shan-Ryngang in Khasi, adds a touch of elegance. Bracelets called Khadu and rings called Sati adorn their wrists and fingers, respectively. To complete their ensemble, the Khasi girls tie their hair neatly at the back of their heads in a bun, decorated with a gold tassel called Sai-Khyllong.
Male Costumes and Ornaments
The male dancers of the Nongkrem dance also display grandeur and splendor in their attire. Necklaces, shoulder ornaments, and earrings are the key elements of their ensemble. They wear a turban called Jingspong, adorned with a yellow-red colored plume known as Thuia. A sling is tied to the left side of their shoulder to hold arrows, showcasing their warrior spirit. A belt made of either gold or silver, embellished with a plume, further enhances their waistline. The male dancers wear sleeveless coats made of velvet or ‘Banat,’ featuring exquisite gold embroidery work. Their lower garment, known as a dhoti, is made of the same Dhara fabric as the female dancers’ attire.
Weaving Tradition and Mythology
During the Nongkrem festival, the silk attires worn by both male and female dancers are exclusively crafted by the Salkuchi weavers of Sylhet. These skilled artisans have been entrusted with the responsibility of creating these intricate garments, as per the Khasi mythology. It is believed that these dresses were originally manufactured in Tibet and Burma, but over time, the Salkuchis monopolized their production. Cotton dresses, on the other hand, are woven in the Khasi hills, showcasing the diversity and skill of the local weavers.
The Nongkrem dance is not only a captivating display of cultural traditions but also a testament to the artistry and craftsmanship of the Khasi community. The opulent costumes and intricate ornaments worn by the dancers add a layer of grandeur to the performance, making it a spectacle to behold. Through their attire, the dancers pay homage to their heritage and keep alive the rich traditions of the Khasi tribe.
Q1. What is Nongkrem Dance?
A: Nongkrem Dance is a traditional dance form performed by the Khasi tribe in Meghalaya, India. It is a vibrant and rhythmic dance that holds religious and cultural significance.
Q2. What is the significance of the Nongkrem dance?
The Nongkrem dance holds immense cultural significance for the Khasi tribe in Meghalaya. It is performed during the Nongkrem festival, which is a thanksgiving ceremony to the goddess Ka Blei Synshar for a bountiful harvest.
Q3. What materials are used to make the costumes for the Nongkrem dance?
The costumes for the Nongkrem dance are primarily made of silk cloth and velvet. The silk attires are woven by the Salkuchi weavers of Sylhet, while cotton dresses are woven in the Khasi hills.
Q4. When is the Nongkrem Dance performed?
A: The Nongkrem Dance is performed annually during the autumn season, usually in the month of November, after the harvest is complete.
Q5. What are the key ornaments worn by the female dancers of the Nongkrem dance?
The female dancers wear a crown called Pansu-giat, earrings, necklaces made of gold, pearls, or corals, armlets called Syngkha or Mahu, and a variety of necklaces made of different designs. They also wear silver and gold chains as shoulder ornaments, known as Tad-Tyrpeng.
Q6. What are the key ornaments worn by the male dancers of the Nongkrem dance?
The male dancers wear necklaces, shoulder ornaments, and earrings. They also wear a turban called Jingspong with a plume known as Thuia, a belt made of gold or silver, and sleeveless coats made of velvet or ‘Banat.’ Their lower garment is a dhoti made of the same fabric as the female dancers’ attire.