Meghalaya: the Abode of Clouds

by Chetna
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Meghalaya is home to the unique culture and traditions, also known for its exquisite bamboo and cane
products, weaving and wood carving. There are three ancient hill communities: the Garos, the
Khasis and the Jaintias, who have particular expertise in handicrafts and traditional bamboo and cane
production. Handmade cane and bamboo is one of the prime occupation of the tribal people. These
tribes annually create household, furniture, accessories and musical instruments from bamboo and
cane.
Musical instruments like mouth organ, tobacco pipe, flute, cup violin, tribal weapons are one of
the products made out of cane and bamboo by people of Meghalaya.
A well-known basket, Meghum Khoks are specially crafted in the hills of the Garo. Khasi people produce
the coiled cane containers annually.


Clothing of Meghalaya


Men of the Garo tribe wear a loincloth as a part of their tradition. The men of Meghalaya are the most
skilled weavers of the region, for generations every family earns their living through weaving.

Men of the Khasi tribe wear a long, unstitched cloth around their waist. In addition, during the Ka Pom-
Bkang Nongkrem festival, they carry a sword in one hand. Men of Khasi tribe wear unstitched Dhoti which are normal across Meghalaya. Along with that an embroidered jacket is worn. It has been noted
that, men wear traditional clothes during festivals and other events, so to be close with their traditions.
Men of the Jaintia tribe have the same dressing tradition like Khasi tribe.


Cultural fashion, food and grace of goddess

Women of the Garo tribe wear a small piece of cloth worn around their waist. Men
wear a blouse with handmade lungi called Dak Manda, which they wrap it around their waist.
The dresses worn vary on the basis of their place of living. The women who live in crowded places also
wear long cotton dresses.
Women of the Khasi tribe wear a Jainsem, covering their bodice from waist to ankles, along with a blouse. the traditional attire of Meghalaya gets complimented with a cotton shawl called Topmeh khlileh.

KYRSHAH: Women of the Jaintia tribe cover their head with checkered cloth called Jain Kyrshah during
the post harvest season. It is gingham patterned worn by women as a top layer. They dress at their
finest in different festivities and events.


MEKHLA: Mekhla is one of the most popular traditional attire of Meghalaya. It is weaved from Muga silk,
which makes it very eye-catching textile.


Cuisine of Meghalaya:

Rice and Pork are the staple food of Meghalaya, which is consumed along with spicy meat and fish
dishes. The tribe rear goats, pigs, fowl, ducks and cows to savour their meat. The type of food differs
from community to community.
The Garos, the second largest tribe in Meghalaya have their dishes like rice cooked with Ki Kpu (cooked
with special ingredients filtered by ash water), steaming foods like Minil Songa, Sakkin Gata, Nakham
and dry meat. Some of these foods are The Khasi, Garos and Jaintia tribes have their famous dishes like
Jadoh, Ki Kpu, Tung Rymbai and pickled bamboo shoots. Garo tribe eats almost any animal besides
domesticated animals. They also ferment rice beer and have it as their traditional beer during celebrations.


Dance and Music of Meghalaya:

Meghalaya houses traditional dances and music based on multiple occasions such as tales of birth,
Marriage, love and other matters. The Garo tribes sing folk songs related to birth, marriage, festivals, love and heroism. They use drums and flutes. Whereas the Khasis and the Jaintia are fond of songs praising nature and expressing love for the land of Meghalaya. They use drums, duitara and instruments similar to guitar, flutes and cymbals.

Meghalaya houses different dance forms like Nongkrem Dance: it is a religious dance performed as an
appease the all powerful goddess Ka Blei Synshar for a rich bumper harvest and prosperity of the
people. Thanksgiving to God for good harvest, peace and prosperity, generally held during autumn at
the cultural Centre of Khasi Club.


Ka Shad Suk Mynsiem is the dance of Khasi, the dance of peaceful hearts. It is held during annual spring
which is symbolic to season of birth. This dance is performed to celebrate harvest and sowing.


Doregata Dance: A playful dance where the women try to knock off the turban of their male
counterparts using their hands. This dance is followed by tough laughter.
Mesara or Pomelo Dance also known as Chambil Mesara is solo dance form where the performer hangs
down from a Pomelo on a cord tied to his/her waist and then throws it around without any clear hip
movement they perform also Lahoo Dance has the same rhythm in which their best dresses, where two
men on either side of a woman hold arms while dancing. It is chiefly performed for the purpose of
merriment and jubilation.

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