Meghalaya, in the north east of India.
June / July, every year.
Jowai in Meghalaya, India.
The Behdienkhlam Festival in Meghalaya
Among the Pnars, the most celebrated religious festival is the Beh-dien-Khlam. (chasing away the Demon of Cholera). Early on the first day, young men go round the village beating on gate post of individual houses.
The climax of the celebration is the tussle for a large undressed beam by two groups of people in opposition to each other. This involves getting this heavy beam across a muddy ditch called
A lot of horse play enters into this part of the proceedings when mud is generously smeared by the participants on each other. This celebration held at
Jowai is one of the most well known festivals in Meghalaya.
The Rituals in the Behdienkhlam Festival
A series of religious rites is being performed by the Daloi (chief). During the
Behdienkhlam Festival, young men make a symbolic gesture of driving away of the evil spirit, plague and disease by beating of the roof of every house with bamboo poles.
The climax of the celebration is the fight for a large undressed beam by two groups of people in opposition to each other. This leads to the heavy beam get across a muddy ditch called
Wah-eit-nar. A lot of horse play enters into this part of the event, when mud is smeared by the participants on each other.
The climax of the festival is when people dressed up in their best attire would converge to a place called
Mynthong to witness a game played similar to football, called dad-lawakor.
The game is played with a wooden ball between the Northerners and the Southerners. The side wins the match by putting the ball on the other side would signify that in the following year there would be a bumper harvest in that particular region. In the evening there would be a lot of funfair and merry making.