Meghalaya, in the north east of India.
November, every year.
Garo Hill in Megalaya, India.
Know the Wangala Festival
A very important festival among the Garos is the Wangala- a harvest festival held in honour of Saljong, the Sun-god of fertility. This marks the end of a period of toil, which brings good yield of the fields. It is the time to relax and for days the hills and valleys resound with the distinctive beat of drums.
The dance itself has certain subtle variations, the main motif being a queue of two parallel lines- one of men and other of women clad in their festive regalia. Young and and old join the festivities with equal gaiety. While the men beat drums, the line moves forward in rhythmic unison.
The 'orchestra' of men consists of drums, gong and flutes punctuated by the sonorous music of an indigenous flute made of buffalo horn. There is a noticeable sense of rhythm in the participants, young and old, and the vigorous dance leaves a lasting impression upon the beholder.
The Ritual in the Wangala Festival
Also known as a 100 drums festival, Wangala Festival is the occasion when the tribals offer sacrifices to please their main deity Saljong - the Sun God. It is generally celebrated for two days and sometimes continues for even a week.
The ceremony performed on first day is known as "Ragula" is performed inside the house of the chief. On the second day is known as "Kakkat". People young and old dressed in their colorful costumes with feathered headgears dance to the tune of music played on long oval-shaped drums. This is the occasion to relax and for days the hills and valleys echoes with the extraordinary beat of drums.
The dance performed during the festival itself has certain subtle variations, the main motif being a queue of two parallel lines - one of men and other of women clad in their festive fineries. Young and old join the festivities with equal enthusiasm. While the men beat the drums, the line moves forward in rhythmic accord. The 'orchestra' of men includes drums, gong and flutes, punctuated by the sonorous music of an primitive flute made of buffalo horn. There is a notable sense of tempo in the performers, young and old, and the energetic dance leaves a lasting impression upon the beholder.
Basically, the Wangala Festival is a way to preserve and promote the cultural identity of Garos in
Meghalaya. This is one way to exhibit the culture and tradition of the region.