The annual Wangala festival, popularly known as the ‘100 drums festival’ is one of the renowned festivals of Meghalaya, celebrated by the Garo Community with great zeal and enthusiasm. This 3-day gala event commenced on November 10 and will culminate on November 12.
A harvest festival celebrated to satisfy the main deity ‘Saljong – the Sun God’, Wangala depicts the onset of winter, and the end of hard toil and efforts, required to yield better output of cultivation.
Wangala acts as the train of thought adjoining the Garo community, thereby helping to preserve and promote their cultural identity, traditions and portraying the strength of unity & impact of solidarity. The occasion signifies the onset of winter.
The festival began with the Indigenous Games and Handloom and Handicrafts Exhibition, inaugurated by the Chief Executive Member (CEM) of Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) – Albinush R Marak.
The occasion includes two important events – “Rugala” and “Kakkat”. Here, residents dressed in colorful attires with feathered headgears dance to the rhythm played through long oval-shaped drums.
A distinctive feature of this dance deals with a queue of two parallel lines – one of the men and the other of women clad in their festive attires. While the men beat the drums, the line moves forward in rhythmic accord.
It is worth noting that the ‘orchestra’ of men includes drums, gong, and flutes, along with a primitive flute made of buffalo horn.