Agartala, Jan 24: Northeast India’s two tribal communities’ customary art, culture and carnival will be represented in the Jan 26 Republic Day Parade in New Delhi.
“‘Sangrai’ festival of the Mog tribal community of Tripura and ‘Hundred Drums Wangala’ festival of Garo tribals of Meghalaya would showcase the traditional culture of their ethnic society in the national day procession,” a Tripura official told IANS.
The front portion of the tableau would depict a part of the ‘Sangrai’ festival where Mog tribal women would appear in colourful dress waving umbrellas and fans of different colours and shapes.
Trailer part of the tableau depicts the various phases of the festival. At the end of the trailer is shown southern Tripura’s famous ‘Mahamuni Pagoda’, a Buddhist shrine of the Mog tribal community.
The ‘Mog’ is one of the 19 tribes of Tripura, a third of whose 3.8 million population is still tribal.
Almost all the people belonging to the Mog community are the followers of Buddhism. ‘Sangrai’ (last day of the month of Chaitra, which is the last month of the Bengali calendar year) is the occasion of special festival.
Renowned linguistic and tribal expert Snehamoy Roy Chowdhury said: “The people of the Mog community in general and the young boys and girls in particular celebrate the ‘Sangrai’ festival through cultural programmes to herald the new year. Cakes are prepared at every home and denizens move from house to house to take cakes.”
“During the festivity, water is carried through auspicious pitchers and respected people are allowed to take bath with this water. The young boys and girls indulge in aquatics and traditional ‘Khouyang’ is played on bet. Paste of fragrant sandalwood and water of green coconuts are sprinkled in every house,” Chowdhury said.
He said there is a mirth and merriment everywhere and in the midst of pomp and grandeur fragrant water is poured on the root of ‘Bodhi Briksha’.
During the three-day festival, the youths of Mog community move about from house to house dancing and singing with pious ‘wish yielding tree’ – Kalpataru — on head.
In the Meghalaya tableau, the entire ‘Hundred Drum Festival’ has been conceptualised and depicted. ‘Wangala dance’ is performed to the beat of the ‘dama’ (drums) with the accompaniment of ‘rang’ (gongs), ‘adil’ (horns) and other local instruments.
Chowdhury said: “The 100 drums ‘Wangala’ festival marks the end of harvest and the beginning of winter season with dancing troupes in the villages all over Garo Hills of Meghalaya and adjoining Chittagong Hill tracts in Bangladesh.”
Harvest festival of the Garo tribals is performed by the ethnic community after the harvest is over. The festival is the culmination of the ‘jhum’ or slash and burn method of cultivation still being followed by the Garo tribals in the footsteps of their forefathers.