Shad Suk Mynsiem is the counterpart of the Garo harvest festival. Also known as the ‘Dance of Contentment’, the famous Shad Suk Mynsiem of Meghlaya is celebrated in the month of April at the Wecking grounds near Shillong and at other places in Meghalaya.
Shad Suk Mynsiem is one of the most important tribal festivals of the Khasis. It is an annual thanksgiving dance festival, when people of the Khasis tribes offer prayer to God for the Bumper harvest. Men and women, dressed in traditional fineries dance along with the beats of drums and pipes called tangmuri, the queen of musical instruments. The festival lasts for three days.
Decked in their traditional attire of fine silk, gold and silver, the Khasi maidens graciously moves inside the circle while the men with whips and swords danced with full enthusiasm outside the circle, as protectors of the honors of womanhood.
The ‘Shad Suk Mynsiem’ (Dance of the Happy Hearts) or ‘Shad Weiking’ which came to a close on Monday at Weiking Ground, Jaiaw here managed to attract many people from all over the state as well as outside as thousands thronged to the Weiking Ground to witness the popular traditional dance of the Khasi tribes, observed since time immemorial.
“It was a pleasant sight to see young beautiful maidens and lads holding their whips and swords in their hands, dancing around in circle”, a Khasi elder said adding “What impressed me most is their enthusiasm in taking part in the dance and this adds up to the beauty of this gracious dance”.
The Three day Annual festivity formerly known as the ‘Shad Phur’ is a Thanks Giving Dance which symbolizes offering of salutations to God, homage to their ancestors and proclamation of unity of the Khasi people.
The 101st year of performance of the thanksgiving dance at Lympung Weiking organized by the Seng Khasi (Khasi Religion) saw the participation of many dancers from different parts of Khasi and Jaintia Hills. Only unmarried men and women are allowed to take part in the dance.
The dancers danced rhythmically making regular movements and keeping time with the beat of the drum and pipe (Tangmuri). Damsels (unmarried) dressed colorfully.
The day started with the “Ka Ksing Lumpaid” or the drum beat to signal and welcome all people for the gathering at Seng Khasi hall Mawkhar. Later a dance procession was held marching towards Weiking ground which is the venue of the festival.
The Shad Suk Mynsiem reflects the matrilineal and patrilineal aspect of the Khasi society. The man with whips and swords circles the virgins, as protectors of the honors of womanhood having a single strength and resource while the men have in them twelve strength and resource.
It may be mentioned that the festival was first organized at the Weiking ground on April 14 and 15, 1911. However, from 1902 till 1910, the festival was held at Mawkhar. The Seng Khasi has been able to preserve this dance which is one of the most important cultural heritages, not only in the performing dance aspect, but also the traditional beats of drums, cymbals, and the shrill piping sound of the Tangmuri.
“There is no doubt that the dance will last in its richness and glamour for all times to come and Seng Khasi would withstand with courage and dedication all undermining forces, and live up according to the tenet of ‘To love oneself and Respect others’”, A Seng Khasi Elder stated.