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Behdienkhlam Festival culminates on colourful note

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JOWAI, July 3: Curtain came down on the Behdienkhlam festival, which is considered one of the most vibrant and popular religious festivals of the Jaintia community, with a spectacular display of rich colour and tradition here on Wednesday.
The concluding event of the festival, which commenced on June 30, was attended by Chief Minister Conrad Sangma as the chief guest, as well as his cabinet colleagues Paul Lyngdoh and Sanbor Shullai, Jowai MLA Wailadmiki Shylla, JHADC CEM T Shiwat along with the MDCs, Doloi of different Elakas, West Jaintia Hills Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police, tourists from different countries, representatives of Sein Raij Jowai (SRJ), et al.
This unique festival is held after the sowing season to express the community’s resilience against the destructive forces of nature, including diseases, and to invoke God’s blessing for a good harvest.
The most significant part of the ritual began in the afternoon at Aitnar, the holy pond.
The festival commenced with the arrival of the Wasan, led by Pator, to hold a thanksgiving ceremony for the Syiem of Aitnar, followed by a meeting of the Symbud Khnong Blai.
After the arrival of the Symbud Khnong Blai, the Khon of Niamtre came down to dance at this sacred pond.
The festival featured rots (raths) from various localities of Jowai and surrounding areas, such as Iawmusiang, Seiñ Tyllilang Ladthadlaboh, Umshangïar, Seinraij Ummulong, Lumkyrwing, Panaliar, Seng Khasi Shillong, Lumiongkjam, and Iongpiah, adding vibrant colour to the event.
These colourful rots conveyed messages about current socio-political and economic issues plaguing the state, highlighting that Behdienkhlam is not just about driving away disease but also addressing social evils affecting contemporary society.
On the occasion, the chief minister congratulated and wished the SRJ and the entire nation good health and prosperity.

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