Shillong: With red flags bearing rooster flying high, the 121st Seng Kut Snem was observed at the Weiking Ground, Jaiaw on Monday to mark the Seng Khasi Movement.
The annual festival of the indigenous Khasi faith this year was a curtailed event owing to the pandemic and the mandatory provisions laid down by the district administration.
People dressed in their finest traditional attire took part in a colourful cultural procession known as “Iaid Pyni Riti” that was taken out in the city depicting the different facets of the indigenous culture and faith in the morning, before culminating at the Weiking Ground, Jaiaw, where prayers were offered by the Seng Khasi priests.
Seng Kut Snem
The Seng Kut Snem is a festival that is observed to mark the Seng Khasi Movement or the foundation day of Seng Khasi organization of Meghalaya’s indigenous Khasi-Pnar community, which began over a century ago. This day is celebrated to mark the beginning of the renaissance and awakening of the Khasi community.
On November 23 every year, Seng Khasi members following the traditional Khasi faith or the Niam Khasi gather to pay their respects to God, the Almighty. This celebration is a form of Community Prayer for protection of the distinct identity of the Khasi Race.
Folk songs, dances and other instrumental music are played during the festival.
Legend of the Rooster
Members of Seng Khasi faith host a flag featuring a rooster against the backdrop of the rising sun (depicted in red colour) on their houses and vehicles as part of Seng Kut Snem celebrations and to identify themselves as followers of the indigenous Khasi faith.
Members of Seng Khasi faith believe the rooster to be a mediator between God and man. According to tradition, at the beginning of time, sins had become rampant among people. So much so that even the sun refused to appear. It was the rooster, of all living creatures, that agreed to risk its life for the good of man. At its crowing, the sun came out of his hiding.
The Khasi-Pnars believe in one supreme God whom they call ‘U Blei Nongthaw’ or ‘U Beli Nongpynlong’ (creator-dispenser). The deity is also occasionally addressed as ‘Ka Blei’ (goddess), given the fact that the Khasis are a matrilineal society.
According to a Seng Khasi functionary, the Seng Khasi calls upon all Khasis to remember their roots and strives to live in harmony with all other communities so that peace and prosperity can once again reign in these beautiful hills.