Seng Kut Snem: A vibrant celebration of Khasi culture and heritage

Seng Kut Snem
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The beautiful state of Meghalaya, in the Northeast, is home to a rich tapestry of cultures and traditions. One of the lively and colorful celebrations in Meghalaya is Seng Kut Snem, a festival that marks the culmination of the year-long festivities of the Khasi community.

Farmers in Meghalaya believe this to be the time of offering new fruits since winter fruits ripe during this time. The Khasi calendar follows the Almanac, which is based on the changing seasons called Saw Samoi – winter, spring, summer, and autumn. These seasons affect when crops are planted and harvested, depending on factors like weather, rain, and the phases of the moon.

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Celebrated annually on the 23rd of November, Seng Kut Snem, which literally translates to “the annual year ending day of the Seng Khasi”. It is a two-day joyous affair that signifies the beginning of the new harvest season. It also marks the anniversary for Seng Khasi followers of the traditional Khasi faith known as Niam Khasi, who get together to express their reverence to the divine.

Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma took to X and wrote, “‘Seng Kut Snem’ celebrates the Seng Khasi Movement and the efforts of the Seng Khasi to preserve, protect & uphold indigenous Khasi faith & culture. On its 124th foundation day, I extend my best wishes to the citizens of Meghalaya.”

The heart of Seng Kut Snem lies in the grand procession known as ‘Iaid Pyni Riti’. This mesmerizing spectacle showcases the vibrant hues and rich heritage of the Khasi people. Traditional attire, intricate beadwork, and rhythmic beats of indigenous musical instruments fill the streets with a captivating energy.

As the procession winds its way through the bustling city of Shillong, it culminates at the sacred Weiking Ground, Jaiaw. Here, amidst the serene natural surroundings, the Seng Khasi priests offer special prayers to invoke the blessings of the Almighty and seek prosperity for the community.

The celebrations extend beyond the procession, with traditional games, competitions, and cultural performances enlivening the atmosphere. The festivities are incomplete without a taste of the delectable Khasi cuisine. Traditional dishes like ‘Ja Doh Doh’ (fermented pork), ‘Doh Khlem’ (steamed rice), and ‘Tungrymbai’ (red rice) are prepared and shared amongst the community, adding to the festive spirit.

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