SHILLONG, Nov 23 � The festival of the indigenous Khasi faith and culture � Seng Kut Snem � was celebrated yesterday at the Weiking Field here with great fanfare.
Youths, elderly men and women dressed in their finest traditional outfits took part in the celebrations. Earlier, a colourful procession was taken out in the city with tableaux depicting the different facets of the indigenous culture and faith. The procession culminated at the Weiking Ground where special prayers were offered by the Seng Khasi priests.
The Seng Kut Snem is a festival that is observed to mark the Seng Khasi Movement. During the British rule, continued assault on the indigenous faith and culture of the Khasis and Jaintias led sixteen young men to form an organisation called the Khasi Young Men�s Association on November 23, 1899 to preserve and safeguard the indigenous way of life also known as Niam Trai Niam Tre.
A year later, the Khasi Young Men�s Association celebrated its first anniversary and called it Seng Kut Snem and the occasion is celebrated every year to commemorate that movement. In 1901, the Association was renamed Seng (association) Khasi. This year the festivities marked the 111th anniversary of the Seng Khasi Movement.
Besides upholding the Khasi religion of Niam Trai Niam Tre, the Seng Khasi had also been working towards strengthening the traditional indigenous administrative systems involving the Syiems, Lyngdohs and Dollois and upholding the Khasi customary usages.
Meanwhile, a major attraction of the festival is the dances performed. Men and women dressed in colourful traditional outfits and jewelries danced to the beat of the drums and flute.