Guwahati, Wednesday, January 29, 2014
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Garo cultural extravaganza begins today
 AMPATI, Jan 28 – A three-day cultural extravaganza is set to rock the district of South West Garo Hills. The event, titled ‘Rhythm of the Hills’, starts tomorrow in Betasing village, about 10 kms from Ampati in South West Garo Hills. It will showcase the indigenous culture of Garo Hills.

The gala event will be inaugurated by Arts & Culture Minister Clement Marak, while Governor KK Paul and Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma will attend the closing ceremony on January 31.

The Head of Arts & Culture, MW Nongbri said, “The event is being held to document the different dance forms and traditions of Garo Hills. Apart from the famous Wangala dance, the event will showcase dances like Ruga and Chugana.” Wangala is the harvest dance festival of the Garo tribe in Meghalaya.

Of the 12 Garo sub-tribes, the event will witness unique dances forms of the Ganchings, Chibok, Atongs, Chisaks amongst others. “The event is an attempt to portray different dance forms and rich cultural diversity of the Garos on a single platform”, said Nongbri.

Though socially and politically independent, the Garo sub-tribes share a common language, culture, beliefs and religion. The festival will be an insight into the rich culture and diversity of the Garos.

Mangona, known also as Chugana, is a post funeral ceremony and it is almost on the verge of extinction. “An attempt is being made to document this ceremony, which is the essence of the Garo tribe,” Nongbri said.

During the Chugana ceremony, a small bamboo hut, known as ‘delang’, is erected on the courtyard of a house. The calcined bones of the dead are then put in an earthen pot and buried near the doorstep after a ceremony. After the burial of the calcined bones, the guests are served with beef and pork. During the performance of the last rites for the spirit of the dead, dancing and singing continue throughout the night with the chanting of funeral dirge, known as ‘Mangtata (Grapme chia) or Kalee’. The ritual dance is accompanied with concave brass cymbals and the ringing sounds of reeds (Kimjim), the peals of ‘horn-trumpets’, called ‘adils’, and the soft sound of a ‘chigring’ (a bamboo stringed musical instrument).

Dances and rituals of Hajong, Koch and Rabha tribes will also be displayed during the event.

Apart from music, dance and food, the event will witness a display of fashion show by renowned designer Tahera Parveen of Kolkata and display of local design by Tatyana Momin, winner of Miss Northeast 2012 and a noted designer of Garo Hills.

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