Etymology of Jaintia Tribe
The word ‘Jaintia’ is derived from the name of the Jaintia Kingdom. Since they have been residing in Jaintia hills, they have been named ‘Jaintia’. They are also known as ‘Pnar’.
History of Jaintia Tribe
Like all the other sub-tribes of the Khasi tribe, the Pnar people also descended from Ki ‘Hynniew Trep’ (7 mothers or 7 families). The rulers of the medieval Jaintia Kingdom belonged to the Synteng community. The Kingdom was occupied by the British East India Company in 1835, and later merged it into the Assam Province.
Society of Jaintia Tribe
Jaintia, like Khasis, belong to the Proto-Austroloid Monkhmer race. They are known by different names such as Syntengs, Jaintias and Pnars given to them by different anthropological authorities. The Jaintias are matrilineal family system and the children of Jaintia tribe take up their mother’s surname. Jaintia cannot marry within the same tribe.
Culture of Jaintia Tribe
Jaintia tribe are rich in their cultural heritage. Their culture reflects the traditions, music, dances, art and crafts of Jaintia tribe. This tribe is famous for artistic weaving, wood-carving, cane and bamboo work, making of musical instruments, tribal jewellery and pineapple fibre articles.
Festivals of Jaintia Tribe
Traditional festivals which are observed by the Jaintia Tribe include Behdienkhlam, Shad Shukra, Chad Pastieh, Shad Ramynthei, etc. Behdienkhlam is the most celebrated religious festival among the Jaintia tribe.
Religion of Jaintia Tribe
The original religion of the Jaintia tribe is known as ‘Niamtre’. The Jaintia tribals believe that their religion is God-given and not founded by man. Majority of the inhabitants of this area had converted to Christianity.
Traditional Dress of Jaintia Tribe
People of Jaintia tribe wear the same clothes as that of Khasi, which includes ‘Jymphong’ and ‘Dhoti’ for men. The women wear several pieces of clothes and wrap themselves so as to give a cylindrical shape. During functions, they wear crowns of silver and gold with spikes attached at the back of it.