Goa’s celebration before the period of lent, observed by Christians has music,dance and food is at its heart in a frenetic four days of non-stop festivity. Revati Upadhya shares some insights.
Literally meaning ‘to throw away meat’, the word Carnival has come to symbolise a riot of colour and celebration right before the commencement of Lent. Today it is known as a time to take to the streets, with lively dance and music performances; bright, lively floats celebrating the history, culture and life in Goa; and street parties coming to life across the states.
But its beginnings go way back to 1961, initiated as a statewide celebration by King Momo. So it’s no wonder then that even today, the carnival is incomplete without celebrating him.
Across three days the legendary King Momo – a recognizable character at the Spanish carnival -is seen everywhere. The carnival parade that streams through the cities of Panjim, Margao and Vasco always have a display of the King, flanked by his queen, blessing the citizens gathered to watch the show!
Deeply cultural event for Goa, the carnival attracts people of all ages. The young dress up, don wild wigs, paint their faces and take to the streets. And nothing stops the older people from joining the fun too!
The parade is large, impressive and fiercely competitive, with the Chief Minister presenting prizes for the best float on display. So you know we take our preparations very seriously.
Bringing back parts of history, Goan popular culture, and current issues eventsare organized throughout the state with bands, dances and floats out all night on the streets, and grand balls held in the evenings.
Although it began as a Portuguese celebration, today, the carnival is a true statewide demonstration of unity and bringing together people of all religions, from across society. So vivacious is the celebration that it has become a reason for people to travel to be here in time for the parade.
Towards the end of March, signalled by the advent of spring, the Hindu take on the Carnival – yet another celebration of colour, life and culture – takes place in the form of Shigmotsav. If you missed the carnival this year, you could plan your trip around Shigmo and join in the celebrations.