Guwahati: The 46th edition of the ‘100-Drums Wangala Festival 2022’ is all set to begin at Wangala A.dam Chibragre near Tura from November 10.
The three-day post-harvest festival is being organised by the Hundred Drums Wangala Festival Committee. Over ten dancing contingents from across the Garo Hills take part in the festival.
Held in honour of Saljong – the Sun god, the celebration of the Wangala Festival marks the end of a period of toil. It also signifies the onset of winter.
It is actually a thanksgiving ceremony observed by the indigenous Garo tribes in honour of the deity for a bountiful and bumper harvest after the conclusion of the sowing seasons.
In the actual Wangala ceremony, which is still observe by the ‘songsareks’ in certain pockets of the Garo Hills and in neighbouring Bangladesh, the rituals and merry-making continue for three to four days.
During the festival, people dress in their colourful traditional attires and feathered headgear and dance to the music played on trumpets made of a buffalo horn and on ‘Dama’, which is a long, oval-shaped traditional Garo drum.
The 100-Drums Wangala Festival is organised with a view to preserving, protecting and promoting the cultural identity of Garos in Meghalaya.
Meanwhile, preparations are going on in full swing in Wangala A.dam, which will be hosting the event for the second time after the venue of the festival was shifted from Asananggre to Wangala A.dam two years back.
With the withdrawal of all covid-related restrictions, the organisers are expecting a higher footfall this year.
Besides, the organisers in active collaborations with the district administration and Tura Police have worked out separate entry and exit routes this time to ease traffic and ensure smooth flow of vehicular movements.
A host of dignitaries, including Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma, Leader of the Opposition Dr. Mukul M. Sangma, GHADC Chief Executive Member Albinush Marak are expected to attend the festival.
According to chairman of HDWFC Ronald Rikman Sangma, who has been personally supervising all the preparations, Assam Legislative Assembly Deputy Speaker Dr. Numal Momin is expected to grace the occasion of the final day of the festival.
In addition to the usual participation of ten competing contingents, a special song by the Nagaland Garo Tribal Council, songs and dances by the students of NEHU and Tura Government College also will be presented on the first day besides indigenous games.
On the second day, a ritual called ‘rugala’ will be performed by offering special ‘bitchi’ or rice beer to the deity. On the final day, ‘Sasat So.a’ or burning of incense will be performed by the priest.
Other highlights of the three-day gala festival are Handloom & Handicraft Exhibition and folk song competition.
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