Seng Kut Snem 2024

23 November 2024
Meghalaya    Regional holiday

Seng Kut Snem is a regional public holiday in the north-eastern Indian state of Meghalaya on November 23rd each year. This holiday marks an important festival of the Khasi Community in Meghalaya, celebrating their culture and traditions.

The Khasi people are the indigenous people of Meghalaya and are the largest ethnic group in the state. Seng Kut Snem is the day before Khasi New Year, which traditionally takes place on November 24th. The Khasi calendar is based on the change of the four seasons, known indigenously as Saw Samoi - winter, spring, summer and autumn as defined by the crops sown and harvested and influenced by climatic changes, rain and phases of the moon.

While the Khasi people were under the control of the British Empire in 1899, 16 nationalist Khasi youths formed the Seng Khasi to protect their indigenous religion, rich culture and unique language. This was just one in a series of acts of defiance against British rule by the Khasi. Since then, the movement has gained momentum helping the Khasi people take pride in their unique and rich heritage. Today Seng Kut Snem serves a dual purpose of marking the end of the year with a tradition thanksgiving festival and also a day when the Seng Khasi celebrate the culture, faith and history of the Khasi. The festival is marked by speeches and also includes traditional games, folk dances, cultural festivals, and displays of handmade products.

This celebration is not a form of a New Year celebration as celebrated by many other communities in India but a form of Community Prayer for protection of the distinct identity of the Khasi Race. During the celebration elders impart oral teachings, publish books and writings and conducted many programs about the traditional faith, beliefs, customs, behaviour etiquette and the Khasi culture as bestowed by the ancient Khasi predecessors.