SHILLONG: The 41st annual 100 Drums Wangala festival kicked off at the village of Asananggre under Rongram block, 18 km from the town of Tura on Thursday.
Over the years, the annual harvest festival of the Garos has gained tremendous popularity with a huge gathering seen every year since it began in the month of December 1976. Tourists, both national and foreign, have been making a beeline for the event which showcases the lifestyle of the Garos. The event also sees a huge number of indigenous delicacies making their way into various palates.
The event which began today with an ‘Eco-Marathon’ in the early morning with the three-day festival culminating on Saturday when ten Wangala troupes will take part in the beating of 100 traditional drums (Dama) with women dancing alongside them. The grand finale will see Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong as the chief guest along with Health Minister AL Hek.
Tourism Minister Metbah Lyngdoh graced the first day as the chief guest to witness the Rugala ceremony on Friday, in which the traditional priest, known as ‘Kamal’ will pour rice beer as an offering to the Gods.
Besides the marathon, the opening day will see the inauguration of the handloom and handicrafts exhibition, a tug of war competition and a ‘Masterchef’ — a competition based on local cuisines.
Indigenous games such as “Gando Makal” a traditional form of wrestling, “Wa’pong Sika” in which individuals on both ends of a bamboo push each other, “Japong Pe’a” traditional arm wrestling, among others will be held on the second day. The day will also see the first round of the 100 Drums Wangala competition.
Saturday will see the 10 Wangala troupes vying for the top prize expectedly to be watched by thousands who throng the venue.
Interestingly, all the troupes participating in the festival hail from the traditional “Songsarek” (animistic) villages where people still worship the ancient traditional religion and follow the traditional way of life.
Last year’s champions — Chidaogre village will be competing against the host team Selbalgre-Rengsangre. Gondenggre, Watregre (Jengjal), Sadolpara, Dabakgre, So’kadam Balading, Dametgre, Golmangre, Haluapara while Sasatgre will be the standby troupes.
Also Read: Meghalaya News