Shillong, Nov 7: The Shad Nongkrem festival concluded on Monday amidst pomp, joy and faithful fervour.
Addressing the occasion as chief guest, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma called for the need to preserve, protect and promote the Shad Nongkrem and other festivals of the indigenous people of the state.
“These festivals and our cultures are what give us our identity. Hence, we must always ensure that our culture is preserved, is protected and is always promoted,” he said adding “I am very happy to see that we have not lost touch with our culture and I encourage not just the Shad Nongkrem but all the festivals of the different tribes of our state we must strive to ensure we maintain our identity.”
The chief minister also announced the government’s decision to sanction Rs 2 crore under the first phase for the development of infrastructure at the place or arena where the Shad Nongkrem is being held.
“I will ensure that financial support from the government will always be there in the coming years to ensure these kinds of festivals become more and more grand and ensure we celebrate in the best possible ways so that not just our people but the people and guests coming from outside can see, enjoy and be part of our celebrations,” he assured.
Similar to all other indigenous festivals of tribals in the state, the festival is performed to appease the all-powerful Goddess, Ka Blei Synshar, for a rich bumper harvest and prosperity of the people.
The Syiem (King) of Khyrim along with the high priest performs the Pomblang ceremony, where a goat is sacrificed to appease the Lei Shyllong; the god of Shillong peak and also to the ancestors and ancestress of the ruling clan.
The religious part of the festival precedes dances, in which unmarried girls in all their exotic costumes participate.
Among other guests were Assembly Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh, cabinet ministers – Sanbor Shullai, Renikton Lyngdoh Tongkhar, Dasakhiatbha Lamare, KHADC chief Titosstarwell Chyne, MLAs and MDCs.