SHILLONG, July 3 - Behdienkhlam, one of the most colourful festivals of the State, was celebrated in the Jaintia Hills today with joy and religious fervour. Union DoNER Minister Jitendra Singh visited the main event held at Jowai, the headquarters of the West Jaintia Hills, and wished the people a blessed and prosperous life. Singh said that the Union Government would extend financial and logistic support to the organisers of the festival.
Behdienkhlam, a major festival of the people in the Jaintia Hills which is celebrated to invoke the gods for a bumper harvest and drive away plague, drew hundreds of people from all across the State and abroad.
During the festival, decorated and colourful raths were immersed in �Wah Ainar,� a muddy pool. Thousands of followers belonging to the indigenous �Niamtre� faith came to witness the festival. Prayers were offered to seek divine blessings for good harvests and sacrificial food was offered to the spirits of the ancestors.
Governor Ganga Prasad, in his address, hoped that the festival �brings peace, progress, a rich harvest and prosperity in the State and may it strengthen the spirit of love and brotherhood amongst all.�
Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, on the other hand, expressed the hope that the festival of prosperity would �facilitate the spirit of peace, love and harmony amongst all communities.� The festival culminated with the beating of rooftops with bamboo sticks in a bid to drive away plague.