SHILLONG, Nov 9 – Nongkrem dance was today celebrated at the cultural centre of the Khasi community at Smit village, about 20 kms from here, in an atmosphere of joy and festivity.
The five-day long religious festival of the Khasis, Ka Pomblang Nongrem dance is popularly known as Nongkrem dance. The religious festival of the Khasis is performed to appease Goddess Ka Blei Synshar, to ward off evil from the community and also for a bountiful harvest and held at Smit, the headquarter and capital of the Khasi State of Hima Khyrim.
After the religious part of the festival is over, dances ensue. Young women in colourful and exotic silk dresses and decked in ornaments of gold, silver and wearing a silver crown participates in the dance in front of the Iing Sad (thatched palace) of Syiem of Khyrim. Young men wearing silk dhoti, waistcoat and plumed turban and also decked with ornaments, joins the women in the dance.
The overall movement of the dance is slow and rhythmic. But, the women dance in a graceful manner taking tiny steps forward. The men dance in a more energetic manner, forming a protective ring around the women and flashing their weapons.
All the while both the male and female dancers keep up to the slow and rhythmic beats of the traditional drums and Tangmuri (pipes).
During the festival stalls spring up outside the venue of the dance, selling local delicacies, handicrafts and rice beer adding colour to the festival.