Curtains fall on annual Behdeinkhlam celebrations

Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma in a traditional headgear at the Behdeinkhlam Festival organised by the Sein Raij Jowai at Tuberkmai shnong in East Jaintia Hills on Sunday. (ST)

From Our Correspondent

 JOWAI: The Behdeinkhlam festival in Jaintia Hills celebrated by the Sein Raij Tuber, the largest of all the Sein Raij in Jaintia Hills, concluded at Tuberkmai Shnong village amidst much religious fervour and merriment on Sunday.

The festival witnessed a colourful display of 67 Rots or Raths at the sacred muddy pool locally known as ‘Ka Biar or Ka Aitnar’. All rots were brought by Niamtre faithful from various parts of Jaintia Hills including Khliehtyrshi, Madur, Mupyut near Jowai, Jalaphet from Sutnga and other places such as Mihmyntdu, Sabahmuswang, Khliehriat and others.

Thousands of Niamtre faithful of the Sein Raij Tuber representing different localities of over 26 villages, both young and old, danced to drums beats and other traditional musical instruments while carrying their respective rot to the ‘Biar’.

The last day of the annual Behdeinkhlam festival was witnessed by over ten thousand spectators besides prominent persons of the State including, the Chief Minister, Dr. Mukul Sangma, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), Wansuk Syiem, PWD Minister, Sniawbhalang Dhar, Umroi MLA, Ngaitlang Dhar, Sutnga MLA, Hopeful Bamon, Local MLA, Justine Dkhar, Amlarem MLA, Stephanson Mukhim, Mookaiaw MLA, Robinus Syngkon, Mylliem MLA, Ronie Lyngdoh, Mawphlang MLA, Kenedy Khyriem, JHADC Chief, MB Rymbai, Director Art and Culture, Matsiewdor War Nongbri and the Chairman, The Grand Council of Chiefs of Meghalaya, John F Kharshiing and PWD Secretary, S. Chyrmang.

The Priest – U Longdoh and other Sein Raij elders performed some of the important rituals including ‘Ka Knia Knia Ryngkaw’- an oblation to the Goddess who guards over the Raij, Shoh Tyndai Iung- beating of the roof of every household in every localities and the ‘Behkhlam’.

‘Beh-Khlam’- is a ritual performed early morning on Sunday to drive away the plague from the village.

The last two rituals performed before and after immersion of all rots brought to Aitnar were Ka Iatan Bhang which is similar to a Tug-of-war game and Iaslait, similar to wresting, in which two of the strongest man would compete against each other.

The Ka Iatan Bhang is a tug-of-war between a group representing the Phang Nein (North) and the Phangwah (South). It is believed that if the Phang Nein wins the game – the whole year will be prosperous and if the Phang-wah wins the game- the whole year will be a bad year.

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