Wangala celebrations conclude in a glittering ceremony at Asanang village

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TURA, November 10: The three day colorful Hundred Drums Wangala Festival at Asanang village came to a glittering close on Saturday evening as the beat of a 100 drums reverberated across the Asanang Hills, witnessed by record number of people during the grand finale.
Witnessing the rich colorful traditional festival of the Garos, Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister, Prestone Tynsong, on Saturday, paid glowing tributes to the pioneers of the Wangala celebrations for their endeavour and also for conceptualizing the idea to preserve the rich culture of the Garos through this festival.
He said that it would not only showcase the rich cultural heritage but also help the people connect with the rest of the world.
“The Government of Meghalaya in it’s endeavour to preserve and promote the cultural heritage has taken cognizance of promoting such festivals in more befitting and meaningful manner which would benefit the people and help to pass on to younger generations,” he added. He also urged the members of the Wangala Committee and the people in general to sustain the responsibility of taking the festival to greater heights and inculcate the traditional values of our forefathers as well as keep the festival clean and green.
One of the highlights of the celebrations was the decision of the Hundred Drums Wangala Festival Committee to make the age old popular folk song “Dimdim Dimchong Dachichong” as the Wangala Anthem from this year onwards.
Tradition was clearly the mantra of the celebrations as no stone was left unturned to showcase to the world the rich tradition of the Garos. From young men and women wearing traditional head gear woven in an array of colors to the ornaments the old and young wore to the cultural dance, even the entire setting was in tune with nature as the use of traditional adornments with lau pongs or dried gourds and natural thatches displayed all around.
It may be mentioned that the 100 Drums Wangala is the post harvest festival of the Garos, consisting of various thanksgiving rituals followed with merrymaking, music and dance. Apart from the usual dancing contingents, participation by different dance troupes from North Garo Hills added more color and grandeur to the festival this year.
Tourists from far and beyond including France, Germany, USA, made their presence felt in this celebrations actively participating and enriching themselves with rituals like the Rugala which is performed a day ahead of the Wangala by the Nokma (A Village Chief) in which the offering of the first hand special rice-beer along with cooked rice and vegetables are given to Misi Saljong, the Giver and Sa·sat So·a ceremony or burning of the incense at the pillar of his house performed on the next day to mark the beginning of week long wangala festival.
Among the visiting guests was International TV presenter Alex Outwaite of TravelX channel’s show ‘Quest’ who along with the Meghalaya Rural Tourism Forum in collaboration with Meghalaya Tourism participated as part of their continuous effort to promote tourism in Garo Hills.
The ten dance contingent who participated in the competition were Sadolbra, Selbalgre, Dabakgre, Golmangre, Halua Resubelpara, Chidaogre, Gondenggre, Watregre, Sokadam Balading, Dametgre and Chokpot. The winner of this year’s Wangala competition is Gondenggre followed by Chidaogre and Sadolbra dance troupes.
Adviser to the Chief Minister, Government of Meghalaya, Thomas A Sangma, Government Chief Whip, Marcuise N Marak, Co-Chairman, State Planning Board, Nihim D Shira, Judge Guwahati High Court, Justice Kotiwar Singh, Deputy Commissioner, West Garo Hills Ram Singh and host of dignitaries attended the festival. (Courtesy: TST)