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The Khasi people (or Khasis) are an indigenous tribe, the majority of whom live in the State of Meghalaya which is in the north eastern part of India, with a significant population in the border areas of the neighbouring state of Assam, and in certain parts of Bangladesh. They call themselves Ki Khun U Hyn˝iewtrep, which means "The Children of The Seven Huts" in the Khasi language. Their language, also called Khasi, is categorized as the northernmost language under the Austroasiatic family stock. The Khasi language was essentially oral until the arrival of Christian missionaries. Particularly significant in this regard was a Welsh evangelist, Thomas Jones, who transcribed the Khasi language into the Roman script. The Khasi people form the majority of the population of the eastern part of Meghalaya, and is the state's largest community. Though the majority of the 85.00% Khasi populace have embraced Christianity, a substantial minority of the Khasi people still follow and practice their age old indigenous religion, which is known as "Ka Niam Khasi" and it is their belief that the rooster (U Syiar Khraw Jutang) is sacrificed as a substitute for man, it being thought that the rooster "bears the sins of men and by its sacrifice, man will obtain redemption" (compare Kapparot). Other religious group practiced among the Khasis include Presbyterian (the largest Christian denomination among the Khasis), Anglican, Unitarian, Roman Catholic, and others. A small number of Khasis, as a result of inter-community marriages, are also Muslims. There is also a very small number of Khasi Hindus inhabiting the Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya, a result of hundreds of years of exposure to the plains of Bengal and Assam. The main crops produced by the Khasi people are betel leaf, areca nut, oranges, local rice, vegetables, etc.

Khasi people from different regions have small, but noted differences. Recent genetic researches have shown that Khasis are closer to their Garo neighbours as compared to other populations of Northeast India.

Dress
The traditional Khasi male dress is a Jymphong, a longish sleeveless coat without collar, fastened by thongs in front. Nowadays, most male Khasis have adopted western attire. On ceremonial occasions they appear in a Jymphong and sarong with an ornamental waist-band and they may also wear a turban.

The traditional Khasi female dress is called the Jainsem or Dhara, both of which are rather elaborate with several pieces of cloth, giving the body a cylindrical shape. On ceremonial occasions they may wear a crown of silver or gold. A spike or peak is fixed to the back of the crown, corresponding to the feathers worn by the menfolk. The Jainsem consists of two pieces of material fastened at each shoulder. The "Dhara" consists of a single piece of material also fastened at each shoulder.

Marriage
The Khasis are, for the most part, monogamous. Their social organization does not favor other forms of marriage; therefore, deviation from this norm is quite rare. Young men and women are permitted considerable freedom in the choice of mates. Potential marriage partners are likely to have been acquainted before betrothal. Once a man has selected his desired spouse, he reports his choice to his parents. They then secure the services of a mediator to make the arrangements with the woman's family (provided that the man's clan agree with his choice). The parents of the woman ascertain her wishes and if she agrees to the arrangement her parents check to make certain that the man to be wed is not a member of their clan (since Khasi clans are exogamous, marital partners may not be from the same clan). If this is satisfactory then a wedding date is set.

Divorce is frequent (with causes ranging from incompatibility to lack of offspring) and easily obtainable. This ceremony traditionally consists of the husband handing the wife 5 cowries or paisa which the wife then hands back to her husband along with 5 of her own. The husband then throws these away or gives them to a village elder who throws them away. Present-day Khasis divorce through the Indian legal system.

The type of marriage is the determining factor in marital residence. In short, post marital residence when an heiress Khaduh is involved must be matrilocal, while post marital residence when a non-heiress is involved is neolocal. Generally, Khasi men prefer to marry a non-heiress because it will allow them to form independent family units somewhat immune to pressures from the wife's kin. A Khasi man returns to his iing (home) upon the death of his spouse (if she is an heiress). These practices are the result of rules governing inheritance and property ownership. These rules are themselves related to the structure of the Khasi iing.

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