India | Meghalaya

Behdienkhlam Festival

Behdienkhlam is an important dance festival observed by non-Christian 'Pnars' who believe in the traditional faith of 'Niamtre'. It is celebrated every year in the month of July, after the sowing period. During the festival people offer prayers for their property and good health of the people and also seek blessings for a good harvest.

One of the features of the festival is that the young men will go around the village beating the roofs of the houses in a gesture to drive away the evil spirits. Another feature of the festival is that a long pole is held across the stream, Wah-Ait-Nar, and the people dancing in that muddy pool would jump over those poles and break them. Meanwhile the women offer sacrificial food to the spirits of the ancestors, which is another important ritual of that festival.

The festival is linked to a legend in which the land, Jowai, was without human inhabitation, but was occupied by five deities. They wished human beings to settle there. In the meantime people belonging to the Mongolian tribe arrived, which made them glad. In their gladness the eldest deity, U-Mokhai, started dancing which made the people flee in fear. Then the deity consoled and blessed them by giving that land. Later when the land was struck by famine, the people prayed to U-Mokhai for help. They were asked to perform a festival after the sowing period, which has been the main festival of the Jaintias till this day.

The main attraction during the festival of Behdienkhlam is at Jowai, the district headquarters of Jaintia Hills District. Jowai is 65 km from the capital, Shillong.

Updated on 17th April, 2015
District: Jaintia Hills

Copyright 2014 by Online Highways LLC. Enjoy some India trivia. Send Us Your Comments