This is a festival of expressing a lot of gratitude to Misi Saljong - the sun god, by Meghalaya, where scores of people from the neighboring areas also visit for this joyous celebration. This is an occasion of thanksgiving, where they thank the sun god for the flourishing rich harvest they have been provided with. It is usually celebrated between September and December, where different people set varying dates to commemorate the occasion. The Wangala Festival will be celebrated on the dates - 6th,8th, 9th, 10th, and 13th November 2020. Find the Wangala details below.
Origin, History, and Significance of Wangala
The Garo Wangala, who celebrate this post-harvest festival of gratitude with so much gusto, pave a way to expose the younger crowd to their cultures and traditions. This is why these crowds hailing from Meghalaya make it such a grand affair, where a plethora of activities is planned throughout this festival.
The other name for this festival is the “Hundred Drums Festival” The first time this festival appeared was in December of 1976, it became a tourist attraction for people visiting Meghalaya. The festival had first unfolded near this area, which is 18 km away from Tura India, the name of the place that demarcates the origin of this festival is - Rongram C&RD Block office. As times passed, this festival became a phenomenon that gave a glimpse of Meghalaya’s heritage and culture, and the Garo people did not leave any stone unturned to make it grand.
The Garo’s are said to be a very enthusiastic and boisterous tribe - and Wangala has become one of their strong identities. Winter is the main harvest season on the Meghalaya lands, and hence the inception of this festival took place there and has continued to be celebrated ever since.
There are several names by which this festival has been described, some of them being - Drua Wanbola or Wanma Rongchua or Pattigipa Ra- Rongipa. All of these names have culminated in the same tale of history and origin of the Garo Wangala to let people know about this grand event.
When is Wangala Celebrated?
This festival’s birth took place back in the year 1976, and it took place in November, on the 6th and 7th. During this time, the reason behind celebrating this festival is because this is a festival which is an ode of thanksgiving to the sun god, thanking him for his generosity and giving a healthy and rich harvest.
Since November is the winter month in Meghalaya, coincidentally, also the harvest season, the Wangala festival has gained prominence over the year during the same time frame.
Different villages express their gratitude on different dates, but it often falls in November.
How is Wangala Celebrated, and Where to Go?
This festival lasts for a period of 2-3 days, and at certain places, this is extended for a week. The festival begins with a ceremonial ritual known as Rugala, which is said to be performed by the Nokma or Village Chief.
This festival’s emphasis is mostly on God, Misi Saljong, the sun god, who is offered rice beer, cooked rice, and vegetables as a sign of gratitude for blessing the people with a rich harvest. On the following day, The Nokma or the Village Chief burns incense at his house’s central pillar to signify the Wangala Festival’s beginning.
This is followed by the act of the young and old dressing in colorful silk attires along with feathered headgear for women, and men in dhotis, half coats, and feathered turbans - swaying to the traditional music of their village - doing their Wangala dance. The dancers dance aligned parallel to each other, forming one line of men and one of the women, depicting the actions of jhum or shifting cultivation from the time seeds are sown to the time of harvest.
- Tura: Wangala Festival is celebrated to a great extent with utmost importance in Meghalaya. Tura in Meghalaya is the best place where this festival is celebrated in the best traditional sense possible. It is known to be following traditions from generations, keeping the ancestral rituals alive.
- West Garo Hills: This is another place where Garo Wangala is celebrated with great importance holding on to their ancestors’ traditions and rituals. This is often an ideal place chosen by tourists who wish to participate in Wangala. Villages like “Sadolpara” namely, which is also located along the Garo Hills region’s plains, are famous for the jubilant celebration of this pompous and exciting festival.
This is the ideal place to visit if you wish to devolve in this unique and mesmerizing festival’s traditional rituals. If you have made up your mind to visit, redBus is the best option for a comfortable, safe, and convenient travel. Download the redBus app now, or the redBus website to book your tickets and participate in the Wangala celebrations!