SUBJECT : The biggest dance festival of Garo hills 100 drums Wangala festival kicked off on Thursday at Asanang, in the outskirt of Tura in West Garo Hills of Meghalaya

NET Bureau, Saidul Khan

November 09, 2017: The biggest dance festival of Garo hills – 100 drums Wangala festival kicked off on Thursday at Asanang, in the outskirt of Tura in West Garo Hills of Meghalaya.

The festival brought together old and young for a three-day cultural amalgamation, wherein the Songsarek lifestyle of the Garos is on display. The non-Christian Garos are called as Songsarek.

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.

“The festival has been practiced traditionally by the Garos from times immemorial. It is performed in almost all non-Christian villages of Garo hills, but the time and date of the celebration vary from village to village. The festival is aimed at depicting the cultural lifestyle of the Garos and protect the rich heritage of the Garos”, said Semeri Alva B. Sangma, a member of the organising committee and author of “Rites of Passage in the Garo Oral Literature”.

The chief executive member (CEM) of Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) Boston Marak inaugurated the festival and stressed on the conservation and preservation of the rich heritage of the Garos.

“A person is identified and recognized by the culture and traditions of the society they belong to and it is the custom and practices that guides the people of the society to uphold the rich cultural traditions of our forefathers”, Marak said, while underlying the importance of a festival like 100 drums, which is celebrating its 40th year.

Making his point heard, Marak also stated that culture is not static and it was necessary to do away with practices which are detrimental for a society but again in the same breath he said that one must hold on to traditions which demonstrates a communities social fabric and its richness.

Speaking at length on conservation and protection of environment, which has been core to Garo’s way of life, Marak said, “Conservation of nature is part of our culture and we have to imbibe the good virtues which has been passed on to us from our forefathers”.

As chief of the district council, Marak also took the platform to urge upon everyone to preserve the age-old traditional practices and institution that lays down laws for conservation of land, natural resources and societal affairs.

Dignitaries who attended the festival included chairperson of GHADC Sadhiarani M Sangma, Deputy CEM, GHADC, Winnison Marak, Executive Member, Land and Revenue, GHADC Jinberth Marak, Chairman, Planning Commission, GHADC, Stevie Marak, amongst others.


Source: Northeast Today