Wangala a successful harvest, a community rejoices, the best of food and drink, vibrant culture and colours on display – the hills erupt with a revelry during Wangala, the biggest festival of the Garos. Wangala is the harvest festival of the Garo community. Wangala is celebrated in many separate places across the season. Those who want to experience the largest Wangala can head to the 100 Drums Festival – a more recent convergence of multiple festivals on one single stage held on the first week of November. Wangala is a reminder to all of the rich indigenous culture of the Garos – many of the symbols and rituals reflect the strong beliefs that existed before Christianity entered these verdant hills.
The main deity of Wangala is the sun-god and the main soundtrack is provided by the Nagra drum. Towards the end of the festival (which continues for days), the largest batch of dancers converge on the main celebration area with multiple drums and perform the ceremonial and traditional dances. Wangala is a time of revelry – as the harvest is complete and the people can rejoice. In the midst of the festivities, apart from soaking in the beautiful dances and outfits, visitors can enjoy local cuisine and traditional beverages like the famous Garo rice wine – bitchi.
During the Wangala festival, the men and women are dressed in the best of traditional apparel, showcasing vivid colours and patterns. Some of the eye-catching garments that the women wear include the bead-embellished chroko ganna, the ganna dakmanda (wrap), the chinani (shawl), ganna kore kinga (traditional top), and the kotip (a headscarf-like accessory). The men are dressed in the gantap (wrap), the genji gisim (shirt) or they can also replace that with a pandra (a crisscrossed cloth worn across the body), and kadesil is the distinctive headgear. Coral, shells, beads, and silver dominate the many ornaments worn by the men and the women.