Shillong, Oct 18 (UNI) The annual Hundred Drums Wangala Festival of the Garos in Meghalaya will be celebrated at Asananggre, West Garo Hills on November 9 and 10.
Besides the usual rituals associated with the Wangala Festival like the Rugala, Chachat So'a and Ani Doka, there will be competition among the ten participating Wangala Troupes from three districts of Garo Hills and finally culminating with the main Hundred Drums Wangala dance. The highlight of this year's festival will be the crowning of the Wangala Queen, Wangala King and the Matgrik (worrior) of the year.
Wangala is an important post-harvest festival of the Garos, generally celebrated in October and November. It is thanksgiving ceremony to the Misi Saljong, also known as Pattigipa-Ra rongipa (the great river of the God of Wealth) for having blessed mankind with the rich harvest of the season.
The Wangala has been practiced by the Songsareks or non-Christian Garos from time immemorial in all villages of Garo Hills. The time and mode of celebration varies from village to village.
However, due to impact of modern civilization Wangala, which is the cultural identity of the Garos, is fast disappearing. In order to protect, preserve and promote this cultural identity, a group of Garo thinkers and leaders came together and decided to organise the Wangala festival on modern lines. A group of 15-30 dancers with ten drums would form a contingent and ten such contingents with 300 dancers would make up the 'Hundred Drums Wangala Dance Festival'.
The first ever Hundred Drums Wangala Festival was organised on December 6 and 7, 1976 at Asananggre, the headquarters of Rongram Development Block. Since then, the festival is being celebrated in the second week of November every year and over the years it has grown under the patronage of the Government of Meghalaya and nurtured by the Hundred Drums Wangala Festival Organisation.