Shillong Land of Diverse Culture & Traditions:
Shillong is a hill station in the northeastern part of India and the capital of Meghalaya, which means “The Abode of Clouds” and is one of the smallest states in India. It is the headquarters of the East Khasi Hills district and is situated at an average altitude of 4,908 feet (1,496 m) above sea level, with the highest point being Shillong Peak at 6,449 feet (1,966 m). Shillong is the 330th most populous city in India with a population of 143,229 according to the 2011 census. It is said that the rolling hills around the town reminded the European settlers of Scotland. Hence, they would also refer to it as the “Scotland of the East”.
Shillong is said to be named after Lei Shillong, the deity of the Khmer people who were the first ones to inhabit this place. The highest peak on this land was considered to be an abode to their deity.
Inhabitants of this Fine Land of Shillong:
The Garos are divided into several subtribes that include the Awe and Chisakand and these subtribes are further grouped into different sects and clans. The clans are also grouped further. So, Shillong’s population has a vast chained hierarchy of many groups and their subgroups. All these add a personal element to the diverse cultures being followed, people. Apart from these major tribes, People living in Shillong is inhabited by considerable Bengali and Nepali communities as well.
Festivals are the ones which symbolize the traditions and myths of all tribes. Thanksgiving festivities form a major part of the festivals celebrated here. The Khasi tribe celebrates Thanksgiving by the name of ‘Shad Suk Mynsiem’ where they perform harvest dance for consecutive three days. Young girls and men dance to show their gratitude for a good spring harvest wearing beautiful silver and gold ornaments.
Livelihood & Lifestyle:
Shillong is primarily an agrarian society but with the developments and modernization that has occurred here, Shillong is now open for manufacturing, mining, and tourism. The warmth, hospitality and genuine pleasure of being hosts to outsiders are an inseparable part of the life two-piece the regional people.
A Kwai or a betel nut along with some rice and beer is offered here as a gesture of friendship and you must accept it with gratitude and appreciation. Most of the young, rich and poor love being served with this foodstuff. You need to taste these exclusive cuisines for a complete Shillong trip experience.
A Khasi woman is more likely to be dressed in ‘Jainsem’, which is a two-piece dress affixed at the shoulder and covered with a shawl well known as ‘Tapmohkhlieh’. This is the traditional dress of Khasi tribes.
The Jaintias are also known to wear the same costume. Khasis wear a ‘Dhara’ on occasions while the Jaintias wear a ‘Jaintia sari’ or ‘ryndia and muka’. The native men will be seen in a half coat, dhoti, and turban.