The Umsan Nongkharai is a festival observed in April or May, to honour 'The Lei Shyllong' - the deity as per the Khasi religion, after whom Shillong and the state's highest peak are named.
The prayers begin at midnight, and an animal sacrifice is performed in Umsan Nongkharai. The drums and flutes - essential components of the Khasi musical setup - provide the soundtrack to a group of men dancing till the early hours. The five-day Umsan Nongkharai festival begins on Saturday and continues for five days, with each day dedicated to a specific topic. Devotees pray for a successful harvest and protection from severe weather phenomena like hailstorms and storms, as well as fertility rites. The final day is when most public ceremonies take place, with the greatest attendance.