Wangala Festival of Meghalaya which is also known as the “100 Drum Wangala Festival” is an enchanting winter festival. Practiced traditionally by the Garos, it is the annual harvest festival of Meghalaya and is celebrated in the honor of Misi Saljong, The Great Giver. Wangala Festival signifies the beginning of winter and also marks the end of labor in fields ushering in a period of relaxation and merry making.
Wangala Festival is a weeklong festival celebrated on the second week of November every year. Music and dances form a significant part of the Wangala celebrations. The main attraction of the festival is the music and orchestra of drums, gongs and flutes, and an ancient traditional flute made of buffalo horn. A village chief, referred to as the Nokma, performs a ritual a day before the start of the festival during which freshly brewed rice-beer, cooked rice, and vegetables are offered to the Misi Salong as thanksgiving for a rich harvest season.
This festival is a time for relaxation and people of all age groups dressed in colorful attractive costumes with feathered headgears dance to the tune of music played on long oval-shaped drums. Wangala Festival has transcended generations and undergone a lot o changes with time. The Wangala Festival celebrations usually known as the 100 Drums Wangala Festival these days is an amalgamation of the rich Garo tradition with the modern day lifestyle.
Image credit: Rikynti Marwein