TURA, Nov 09: Women and children, the young and the old all thronged Asanang in the outskirts of Tura to attend the first day of the 100 drums Wangala festival which kicked off on Thursday.
The way of life of the Songsarek or non-Christian Garos will be on display during this three – day festival.
“The festival has been practiced traditionally by the Garos from times immemorial. It is performed in almost all non-Christian villages of Garo hills, but the time and date of the celebration vary from village to village. The festival is aimed at depicting the cultural lifestyle of the Garos and protect the rich heritage of the Garos”, said a member of the organising committee and author of ‘Rites of Passage in the Garo Oral Literature’, Semeri Alva B. Sangma.
The festival was inaugurated by the Chief Executive Member (CEM) of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC), Boston Marak who stressed on conservation and preservation of the rich heritage of the Garos.
“A person is identified and recognized by the culture and traditions of the society they belong to and it is the custom and practices that guides the people of the society to uphold the rich cultural traditions of our forefathers”, Marak said, while underlying the importance of a festival like 100 drums, which is celebrating its 40th year.
Marak also stated that culture is not static while underscoring the importance of doing away with practices which are detrimental for a society. He however said that one must hold on to traditions which demonstrate a community’s social fabric and its richness.
Speaking at length on conservation and protection of environment, which has been core to Garo’s way of life, Marak said, “Conservation of nature is part of our culture and we have to imbibe the good virtues which has been passed on to us from our forefathers”.
Marak also urged upon everyone to preserve the age-old traditional practices and institution that lays down laws for conservation of land, natural resources and societal affairs.
Marak also inaugurated the Handicraft Exhibition organize by the District Commerce and Industries Centre, Tura and Gaj Yatra by Wildlife Trust of India at the venue of the 100 Drums Wangala Festival and Cultural Extravaganza at Asanangre.