The annual three-day Shad Suk Mynsiem Festival, also known as ‘The Dance of Peaceful Hearts’, recently concluded on Monday with an enthralling display of music and thanksgiving dance that captivated participants and spectators alike.
Held from April 8th to 10th this year, this vibrant agrarian festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm, symbolising optimism for the coming year.
At Weiking Ground, Jaiaw, a vibrant display of culture unfolded as hundreds of people, spanning across different age groups, belonging to the ‘Niam Khasi’ or ‘Seng Khasi’ community actively participated in the festival, accompanied by the rhythmic beats of drums and tangmuri.
The captivating dance and enchanting music of Shad Suk Mynsiem offers a captivating glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the matrilineal societies and Hynniewtrep clans. The maidens, positioned at the centre of the dance, symbolise the esteemed role of keepers of the hearth, home, and lineage within the community while the men dressed in ceremonial attire and turbans, surround them to serve as protectors.
The waitlam (sword) and symphiah (whisk) symbolise their roles as advisors, leaders, and protectors in the Hynniewtrep society, as depicted in the movements steeped in the nuances of the Shad Suk Mynsiem rituals. The arrows in their quiver represent the qualities traditionally associated with men.
The female dancers, clad in the finest silks and adorned with gold, coral, and silver accessories, exude grace and elegance. The crown they wear symbolises dignity and modesty, while the lasubon flower, a significant totem for the Hynniewtrep clans, represents purity and chastity of the dancers.
Beyond the captivating performances, visitors to the Shad Suk Mynsiem festival also have the opportunity to learn about Niam Khasi and the crucial role of the Seng Khasi organisation. Dedicated to preserving the old traditions and promoting the indigenous beliefs and customs of the Hynniewtrep clans in modern times, the Seng Khasi adds depth and meaning to the festivities, making Shad Suk Mynsiem a truly enriching cultural experience.