The spectacular rhythm of the Hundred Drums Wangala festival concluded today which was witnessed by a record number of people on the third and final day of the festival.
Culturally the Wangala is the biggest festival of the Garos and basically, is a post harvest thanksgiving ceremony to ‘Misi Saljong’ also known as ‘Patigipa Rarongipa’, the Deity who gives in plenty.
Highlighting the importance of this traditional festival, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Meghalaya Infratech & Innovations Corporation Limited and Mahendraganj MLA Sanjay A Sangma suggested that the Education Department should take the initiative to teach school students on how to perform the dance so that develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of their cultural heritage. He urged people to wear the traditional attire when they participate in the Wangala festival.
Sangma said that the festival is integral to the tribal way of life and crucial to preserving the unique tribal identity, its customs and traditions.
He said that the former founding member of the Wangala Committee Late L K Marak was dedicated and immensely contributed for the benefit of the society and expressed his gratitude and appreciation to the Wangala committee members for their effort and dedication in preserving the rich culture and traditions of the Garos.
Dadenggre MLA Rupa M Marak said that earlier he thought that the festival was being organized just for the sake of organizing, but after attending the festival in the previous years he started to understand its importance and the need to preserve the culture and identity that the forefathers have left for the future generation.
He also advised people to learn the cultural practices such as the rituals performed after the person is dead and the practice while seeking a groom, etc.
West Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner, Jagdish Chelani also took the effort to address the crowd in the Garo language and elaborated on the importance and significance of the Wangala festival.
Earlier, Chairman of the Wangala Committee Ronald Rikman Sangma highlighted the history and beginning of the Wangala festival and the need to preserve the culture and traditions of the Garos.
The Wangala Anthem, “Dimdim Dimchong Dachichong” which is the age old popular folk song composed by Late Millickson K Sangma was also sung during the festival.
Tourists from far and beyond including Germany, Switzerland, France, Bangladesh, Tamil Nadu, Pune, Assam, and media persons from various places came to witness the festival and enrich themselves with rituals called ‘Rugala’ which was performed a day ahead of the festival by the Nokma.
The festival saw the participation of ten Wangala dance troupes, which counts to 100 Drums in total drawn from all the four corners of Garo Hills. This year, the Gondenggre, Chidaogre and Sadolbra dance troupes won the competition.