Festivals and Ceremonies of the Garos
Ronald C. Sangma
The Garo, predominantly agricultural community, they had practised the jhum cultivation or shifting method of cultivation of their forefathers, though with the advent of education and consequent modernization, this is rapidly changing and many have started adopting a more settled method of crop cultivation.
It is a well-known fact that the garos do not have written records of such materials and as the younger generation is losing interest in whatever traditions that were followed by their ancestors. Even the oral tradition is fast disappearing with the passage of time. They follow a calendar laid down by Bonepa Janepa first person who performed all rites and rituals connected with jhum cultivation as instructed by Misi Saljong Galapa to A.ni Apilpa Chini Galapa another patriarch who was the first among the human to obtain rice seeds.
In many research, it has been found that even though the Achiks have become Christians; they are still immersed in a tradition which has not yet been completely wiped out both in the remote villages as well as in the towns. Although modern life styles, mix culture and languages and the lack of interest to learn the traditionally handed down rituals, traditions, professions, like agriculture and related works, are also keeping them from cultivating crops and thus celebrating festivals connected with agriculture. It can also be noted that the garos from Assam, Tripura and Bangladesh are slowly abandoning their ancestor’s traditional custom and beliefs due to these factors. Notably, there are nineteen festivals celebrated in connection with jhum cultivation in Garo Hills according the data collected from various research study. They are listed as follows:
1. A•a O•pata or Jumang Sia
2. Gitchipong A-siroka or Chiga Roka
3. Attepong Sugala
4. Kosi Krita or A-song Den•a
5. A•siroka or Rama Krita or A•a Bakchata or Den•bilsia or Wa•cheng Balroroa
6. Bang Rika or Songa Rakkia
7. A•galmaka or A•galmakdoa or Galwakdoa
8. Jamadal Nokdonggaa
9. Salrak Tata
10. Mi Krita or Miamua or A•krita or Mejak Sim•a
11. Mi So•gala or Bang Gala or Bang Krita
12. Wachi Tata or Wachi Soa or Salpang Sim•a
13. Rongchugala or Wanna Stita Guri Janggia
14. Jamegapa or Jagapa
15. Medong Ra•ona, Ahaia or Megap Ra•ona or Ja•pang Raa
16. Wangala or Dru Wanbola
17. Chugan or Mangona or Delang So•a
18. Wanbasala or Mi Jam Tato
19. Wankadoa or Chare Mikkol Krita. Read more
Milton S. Sangma, History and Culture of the Garos,Books Today, 1981.
Dewansing Rongmuthu, Folktales of the Garos, Univ. of Gauhati, Dept. of Pubs., 1960.
Fameline K. Marak, Major Folk Festivals of Garos with Special Reference to Cultivation: A Critical Study.