Tura ( Meghalaya ), Nov 11 : Wangala Festival is a harvest festival held in honour of Saljong, the Sun-god of fertility. The celebration of the Wangala Festival marks the end of a period of toil, which brings good output of the fields. It also signifies the onset of winter.
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 colourful 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 popular dance forms are 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.
Meanwhile in neighbouring Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has felicitated the country’s Garo community on the occasion of Wangala, a religious festival of the ethnic community, to be celebrated in the country on Friday.
“Bangladesh is a country of communal harmony. The Garo community has been contributing in building the country being imbued with spirit of brotherhood, friendship and non- communality since the time immoral,” the premier said in a message on Thursday.
She also said the country’s Garo community has been living peacefully in the country with all other communities maintaining their distinct tradition and culture for long.
Their uniqueness, cultures, values and traditions have enriched the country, Sheikh Hasina added.
She further said many Garo community members contributed to achieving the country’s independence by joining the 1971 Liberation War, responding to the call of the greatest Bangalee of all time Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
During the regime of the present Awami League government, the prime minister said with the theme “Religion is for individuals while festivals for all” and being imbued with non-communal spirit, people of all faiths are practicing their own religious rituals independently in the country.
“We are determined to establish Bangladesh as a peaceful country in the world, maintaining the existing communal harmony,” she added.
Noting that the government is working for the betterment of the country’s all citizens upholding the non-communal spirit, the premier said: “With the collective efforts of all, we will be able to establish Bangladesh as a hunger and poverty-free, prosperous, non-communal and peaceful country”.
She wished the Wangala festival a success.
( With inputs from Meghalaya Govt website )