The famous annual harvest festival of the Garos – Hundred Drums Wangala Festival -will kick off on Thursday at the idyllic Asananggre Village of Rongram Block, 18 kms from Tura (Meghalaya), with an Eco Marathon at the break of dawn.
A report published in the The Shillong Times stated that the three-day festival will culminate in a grand finale on Saturday during which the 10 Wangala troupes will take part in the beating of a hundred traditional drums (dama) as the young maidens dance alongside. Record number of spectators including tourists, both foreign and Indian, are expected to witness this colourful traditional festival.
The report further stated that Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong will be the chief guest at the grand finale on Saturday alongside Health Minister AL Hek who will be the guest of honour. Tourism Minister Metbah Lyngdoh will be the chief guest at the Rugala ceremony, on Friday, in which the traditional priest, known as ‘Kamal’, will pour rice beer as an offering to the Gods.
The first day of the celebrations will include, besides the Eco Marathon, the opening of the handloom and handicrafts exhibition, a tug-of-war competition and a ‘Masterchef’ competition where culinary specialists will present different food items with traditional flavour.
On the second day, indigenous games will be played such as ‘Gando Makal’, a traditional form of wrestling, ‘Wa’pong Sika’, a test of one’s strength in which individuals on both ends of a bamboo push each other, ‘Japong Pe’a’, traditional arm wrestling, among others. It will also be a day in which the first round of the 100 Drums Wangala will take place.
Huge turnout is expected on Saturday when the finals begin for the 10 Wangala troupes that will vie for the coveted prize. The day will start with the burning of the incense sticks or ‘Sa’sat So’a’ at the house of the village chieftain (Nokma) and the offering of rice and traditional beer after which the Nokma will perform the Grika or warrior dance and will lead everyone from the house to the field.