The 43rd Hundred Drums Wangala Festival was held for the first time at the proposed permanent site of A’chik Heritage Village at Wangala A’dam, Chibragre in a subdued manner due to Covid pandemic where Former Chief Executive Member (CEM), Garo Hills Autonomous District Council, Tura Dipul R Marak graced the occasion as Chief Guest.
It may be mentioned that a day ahead of the Wangala, a ritual called Rugala is performed by the Nokma (A Village Chief) and in this ritual, the offering of the first hand special rice-beer along with cooked rice and the vegetables are given to Misi Saljong, the Great Giver.
Expressing his gratitude to the Wangala Committee for being able to witness the festival at the permanent site, Dipul Marak said that he did not expect this opportunity since his term of office had just completed recently. He then reminded that the first Wangala Festival held in the year 1976 which was then organised could take place due to the concerted efforts of the people of the region to preserve the culture and traditions of the Garos as one of the tribes of North East region.
Further, he also appreciated the support and contribution of the people for going forward in making this place a Heritage Village of the Garos and urged everyone not to forget the culture and traditions of our forefathers and keep our identity intact with our roots. He also insisted upon the members of the committee to collaborate with the Garos living in other parts of the region and support them in preserving our culture and traditions. Stating that due to pandemic this year only three wangala troops are participating, but expressed hoped that in future when things becomes better then the Hundred Drums Wangala Festival can be celebrated as before, he added.
Working Chairman, Hundred Drums Wangala Committee, Ronald Rikman Sangma stated that the festival is being organised at the proposed permanent site for the first time from the traditional venue of Asanang in a low key affair due to Covid pandemic. However, he said that it is a matter of great pride for every Garo since the festival can be celebrated uninterrupted with a view to preserve and showcase the rich culture and traditions of the Garos.
Informing that inspite of hardships faced by the committee while shifting to this site, he said that necessary preparations are on and the project is expected to be completed in less than a year against the stipulated time which have been started at present without any financial assistance, but looks forward to the government for their support for completing the project. Further, he informed that the festival is being celebrated in restricted manner due to Covid-19 with only Rugala, Sasat So’a and other ritualistic ceremonies along with three dance troops from the winner and runners up of last year wangala festival namely, Sadolbra and Gondenggre and the host Chibragre dance troop to perform the Rhythm of the Dance and other rituals as part of the celebration.
President Nokma Council, Tura Skylance G Momin, Assistant Director, Tourism Department, Tura Bulbuly S Marak, Divisional Forest Officer (Territorial), Williamnagar Satish K S, Principal, Harding Theological College, Dr. I Imsong, Head of Office, DDK, Tura, D N Pawar, District Officials and Members of the Wangala Committee attended the festival. 43rd Wangala Festival begins with the Rugala Ceremony