Tura gears up for 100 drum Wangala fest
(Photo courtesy: Visma K Thapa, Additional Information: Saidul Khan)
The much awaited 36th hundred drums Wangala festival 2013 will kick start on November 7th this year. The annual colourful Wangala dance festival of the Garos will be held at Asananggre, 18 kms from Tura in Meghalaya’s West Garo Hills.
Preparation for the festival is going on in full-swing. Members of the organizing committee informed that the three day festival will see participation of 60 tour operators both national and international. Tourists from UK, Ireland, China, Thailand and Korea have registered to participate in the mega cultural event.
Editor Achik Songbad Dr Alva B Sangma is handling the publicity and promotion for the event as its Convenor. Dr. Sangma said, “Tour operators from various countries have been sponsored by Meghalaya Tourism to participate in the three day festival,” adding “The operators will promote Wangala festival internationally”.
“This is for the first time that the tourism department of Meghalaya has taken the initiative to invite such huge contingents of tour operators. We are making all possible effort to woo the operators to brand Wangala globally”, said Dr. Sangma.
The festival is being organised by 100 Drums Wangala Festival Committee. The special attraction for this years’ event will be SBI Master Chef competition, wherein participants will be cooking on the spot indigenous Garo cuisines.
The Wangala is the most significant post harvest festival of the Garos. It is a “Thanksgiving” ceremony to Misi Saljong, also known as Pattigipa Ra’rongipa (The Great Giver) for having blessed the human beings with rich harvest of the season.
It also gives an opportunity for the hardworking Garo people a moment to take a break from their routine work and spend time in merriment. The dance festival popularly called as the ‘100 drums festival’ is organised to showcase the rich and vibrant culture of the Garos’. This also gives the message to protect, preserve and to learn the dying culture.
Though most of the participating teams in this event are Christians, a few teams represent the Songsarek (the non Christian). The celebration starts with Rugala ceremony – a ritual performed by the Nokma (village chief). As legend goes the Nokma offers the first hand special rice beer along with cooked rice and vegetables to Misi Saljong.
However, the actual celebration takes places with Chachat so·a ceremony, the burning of incense at the central pillar of the Nokma’s house, performed by the Nokma. This is followed with the dance.
All these rituals are well portrayed in the festival.