The 42nd edition of the colourful and vibrant 100 Drums Wangala Festival concluded on November 9th, 2019. Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma attended the last day of the festival with much enthusiasm.
The Chief Minister mentioned that the festival gives a chance to display the rich culture, tradition and lifestyle of the Garo tribe to the world. Sangma interacted with the local dancers, entrepreneurs, weavers and also enjoyed local delicacies and liquor. He visited the Huro Asong at Selbalgre village near Asanang. “Impressed by the display of traditional handicraft and weaving practice of the Garos,” tweeted Sangma.
He also visited the stalls at SARAS mela in Asanang that showcased the different value-added agri-horti products, handicrafts, clothes, wine and so on produced by our Self Help Groups and local entrepreneurs.
Wangala is a harvest festival celebrated by the Garo tribe, who live in Meghalaya, Nagaland and Assam in India and Greater Mymensingh in Bangladesh. In this post-harvest festival, they give thanks to the sun god, for blessing the people with a rich harvest.
The festival was organized on December 6th and 7th, 1976 at Asanang, 18 km from Tura, West Garo Hills district. Since then, it has been celebrated every year. Over time, the festival has grown so big as dance troupes from outside the Garo Hills also participate in the event. The 100 Drums Festival attracts many local, national and international tourists every year.
A hundred drums are played by the boys, while the girls dance to its rhythm. They recite folk songs to which the drums are played along with bamboo flutes as they enjoy in the festival. The participants dress in colourful garments feathered headgear as they dance to the beats of the long, oval-shaped drums.
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Sangma recently came back from his road trip to Bangladesh. During his visit, the Meghalaya delegation proposed an exchange programme wherein the people from the Garo tribe from both sides would get an opportunity to interact with Garo people living in different parts of the world.
The Meghalaya Chief Minister interacted with the people from the Garo community in Bangladesh and also participated in a get-together programme on November 7th, 2019.
Photo credit: @SangmaConrad