The Garo community in Dhaka marked “Wangala” -- the celebration for bountiful harvest -- amid fanfare yesterday at DNCC field in Banani.
Being a weekend, people from all walks of life thronged the venue since morning. Youngsters dressed in traditional attires and ornaments sang religious songs and welcomed guests with flowers, while different stalls showcased Garo culture, food, attires and ornaments.
“We eagerly await Wangala,” said university student KripanJoli Manda. “It helps us uphold our values and teaches the importance of unity.”
The programme started around 8:30am with youngsters in “dakmanda” and “daksharee” (colourful attires made from raw cotton fabric traditionally worn like sarong) offering prayers.
Community leaders say the festival is held between September and December. On the day of Wangala, Garos offer crops to “Misi Saljong” (who blesses them with harvest), and “Tatara” (believed to be the creator of earth) and “Sushumi” (who cures diseases and bestows them with wealth).
According to tradition, Garos consume the crops only after dedicating it to the divinity.
The first part of the festival featured “Rugala” (puja and other religious formalities of offering crops to the gods), where the “Khamal” (chief priest) prays and implores the gods to receive the crops.
Mithun Raksham, a writer and publisher from the Garo community, said, “Through this festival, we try to follow the rituals our ancestors practiced so that we can stay connected with them.”
Indian Garo band “Notes of A’rongga” and Bangladesh’s “Sacrament” enthralled audience with their performances in the evening.
Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Atiqul Islam and lawmaker Jewel Areng attended the festival, among others, in the afternoon.