behdeinkhlam

The Behdienkhlam festival – one of the most popular religious festivals of the Pnar( a tribal community in Jaintia hills district of Meghalaya) concluded on Wednesday as thousands of devotees and spectators coming from all over Khasi and Jaintia hills even the tourists witnessed the colourful celebration held at “Aitnar” – a sacred pool.

Organized annually by the Seinraij Jowai, this unique festival is held after the sowing season is over so as to overcome any destructive forces of nature including diseases by invoking the God for a good harvest.

The Behdienkhlam literally means driving away the plague as “Khlam” means ‘Plague’ and “Beh Dein” means to drive away the plague.

Participating in the festival, niamtre faithful both young and old from various localities like Iongpiah, Dulong, Panaliar, Loomkyrwiang, Chilliangraij, Loomiongkjam, Tpep-pale Iawmusiang, Ummulong and Shillong Sein Raij brought their well-designed colourful ‘Rots’ or ‘Raths’ at Aitnar.

This year, more than 11 ‘rots’ were displayed during the festival.

The various rots carries with them different meaning and messages depicting the present social, political and economic issues of the state and apparently the Behdienkhlam is not all about driving away sickness but to also drive away such social evils that is inflicting the society.

The elders of the Sein Raij, including the Dolloi (religious heads) performed various ritual before the rots were brought to the pool.The Behdienkhlam festival – one of the most popular religious festivals of the Pnar( a tribal community in Jaintia hills district of Meghalaya) concluded on Wednesday as thousands of devotees and spectators coming from all over Khasi and Jaintia hills even the tourists witnessed the colourful celebration held at “Aitnar” – a sacred pool.

Organized annually by the Seinraij Jowai, this unique festival is held after the sowing season is over so as to overcome any destructive forces of nature including diseases by invoking the God for a good harvest.

The Behdienkhlam literally means driving away the plague as “Khlam” means ‘Plague’ and “Beh Dein” means to drive away the plague.

Participating in the festival, niamtre faithful both young and old from various localities like Iongpiah, Dulong, Panaliar, Loomkyrwiang, Chilliangraij, Loomiongkjam, Tpep-pale Iawmusiang, Ummulong and Shillong Sein Raij brought their well-designed colourful ‘Rots’ or ‘Raths’ at Aitnar.

This year, more than 11 ‘rots’ were displayed during the festival.

The various rots carries with them different meaning and messages depicting the present social, political and economic issues of the state and apparently the Behdienkhlam is not all about driving away sickness but to also drive away such social evils that is inflicting the society.

The elders of the Sein Raij, including the Dolloi (religious heads) performed various ritual before the rots were brought to the pool.

Rituals of the Behdienkhlam FestivalThe festival of Behdienkhlam begins with a ritual in which the Daloi or the chief of the tribe opens the proceedings with a ceremonial invocation to the Gods of the tribes through a series of religious rites. Following this is one of the most popular rituals of the festival where young men symbolize the flight of the evil spirit by beating the roof of every house in the village with bamboo poles. However, the main attraction of the fBehdeinkhlamBehdeinkhlamestival takes place when young men fight for the possession of a huge beam, a fightwhich is characterized by smearing of mud on all the participants.

The festival of Behdienkhlam reaches its conclusion with the Dad-lawakor ceremony in which groups of men jostle for the possession of a wooden ball, a game which is remotely similar to football. The festival ends with a final salutation to the divine powers when the women of the tribe offer sacrificial food to the Almighty.