The Wangala Festival is observed and celebrated with enthusiasm and zeal in Meghalaya. It is one of the most significant and important festivals of the Garo tribe that also attracts a lot of tourists during this time. Also known as the 100 drum festival, it has been celebrated since the year 1976.
During this auspicious festival, tribals in the state pray and offer sacrifices to their deity Saljong, the Sun God in order to please her. This year, the festival has started today, 12 November and will be conducted keeping in mind the COVID-19 guidelines that have been laid down by the government. Usually, this celebration lasts for two days, but sometimes it can continue for a week also.
Significance: The Wangala festival marks the end of a period of toil, that brings good results to the fields which also signifies the onset of winter. It is also celebrated in honour of the Sun God that marks the end of the long harvest season.
Among the many tribes, the Garo preserve and promote their cultural identity through this festival. They also exhibit their tradition via this celebration.
How is the festival celebrated?
Wangala, which is also known as the Festival of Hundred Drums, is celebrated with different forms of dance. These dances are performed on the tunes of folk songs that are played on drums and primitive flute. Additionally, these flutes are made of buffalo horns.
On the first day of the festival, people celebrate it with a ceremony called Ragula. This ceremony is performed in the house of the village’s chief. On this day, people dress up in colourful costumes along with feathered headgears. Then on the second day of celebration, which is called Kakkat, people begin the ceremony by dancing to the rhythms of long oval-shaped drums.
In this celebration, young and old join together while men play the drums and women perform traditional dance forms. The dance form is known as Dama Dagota which is done to please God Saljong.