COVID 19 pandemic has led to toning down of the festivities as all the major festivals this year are limiting large gatherings and physical contact to halt transmission of Covid-19.
The coronavirus-induced global health pandemic and the consequent lockdown have to lead to a scaling down of the events.
Set against the surreal backdrop of greenery, the Festival of Shad Nongkrem will be held at Smit on November 24 and 25. However, this year’s celebration will be organised to maintain all protocols as the office of Hima Khyrim has appealed ki Khun ki hajar (subjects) to safely avoid congregation at Smit on November 24 and 25.
The Nongkrem dance festival is celebrated during Autumn at Smit, the cultural centre of the Khasi Hills. A five day long religious festival of the Khasis, Ka Pomblang Nongkrem dance is popularly known as Nongkrem dance
The religious part of the festival precedes dances, in which unmarried girls in all their exotic costumes participate. The men’s dancing is naturally more vigorous and energetic. They hold a sword in their right hand and usually a white Yak hair whisk in their left hand, keeping time to the changing beats of drums and playing of the tangmuri or pipes.
This year, due to the COVID 19 pandemic the Nongkrem dance festival is going to be low key affairs where the big gathering will not be appreciated as every measure will be adopted to avoid congregation during the festival.
Speaking to reporters here on Tuesday, the Syiem Khynnah (Deputy Chief) Habapan Singh Syiem said, “We request the people of the state to bear with us as we can’t allow huge festival crowd this year due to the pandemic”.
The office of Hima Khyrim has requested the people to cooperate and not to crowd the venue.
The Nongkrem dance has an essence of rich cultural heritage and traditional belief passed on through generations.