Carnival In Goa


Come February and there is mush in the air with the Valentines Day celebrated universally! Come February in Goa and its time to usher in the annual carnival, the festival of fun, fun and simply more fun! It's that time of the year when all and sundry just get caught up in a time warp, and let their hair down with all the fun n' frolic. Carnival and Goa go back a long time. Legend has it that it was the Portuguese that first introduced it some 500 years ago and it has stayed and caught on. People from all walks of life and all faiths celebrate this festival with much fervour. Carnival spans a period of three mirthful days where the only mantra is gaiety.

The nomenclature of the festival seems to find its roots from the Latin word ‘Carnavale' which is other words means' to do away with meat'. Carnival incidentally is celebrated before Easter and veritably marks the end of the feasting spell and the beginning of the fasting spell! The forty-day austere period of lent soon follows carnival.

Carnival is customarily flagged off by King Momo, the king of merriment. On this day, it is his diktat that reigns supreme and he mandates all his subjects to have ONLY fun! King Momo is seen on the summit of his carriage meandering through the towns of Margao, Panaji, Mapusa and Vasco accompanied by the floats put up by various groups. Nubile girls and boys dance their way on the streets and are greeted by crowds that flank the streets eagerly. Music fills the air and people find themselves gyrating to popular Goan folk songs as well as Western and Indian music. Shutterbugs snap furiously trying to capture every moment of this festival.

Generally, and especially in the hinterlands of the Goan villages, the true flavour of the Goan carnival is seen at its hilt. Fun-seeking men folk, in the garb of women, amuse and entertain the denizens with their jocular antics. There is singing and dancing and various competitions are held at this time that gets the whole village going. Such is the carnival spirit in Goa! Street plays vernacularly known as 'Khell Tiatres' are another striking feature of this festival. In the larger towns, evenings are usually marked by dance or culminate into a ball. 

Carnival falls during the peak tourist season in Goa and hence all roads lead to Goa and visitors both domestic and foreign are drawn to Goa by the compelling nature of this festival.

 Destination Goa becomes all the more a reason for people to visit and partake in the revelries of the festival of festivities. A funky festival for the spunky lot or should we say a time loaded with a devil may care attitude and a pizzaz for hedonistic pleasure!