FROM AROUND GOA
Annual Festivals in Goa
Diwali is one of the biggest festival of Hindus, celebrated with great enthusiasm and happiness in India. The festival is celebrated for five continuous days, where the third days is celebrated as the main Diwali festival or ‘Festival of lights’.
Different colorful varieties of fireworks are always associated with this festival. On this auspicious day, people light up diyas and candles all around their house. They perform Laxmi Puja in the evening and seek divine blessings of Goddess of Wealth. The festival of Diwali is never complete without exchange of gifts. People send for diwali to their near and dear ones.
Goa Carnival is the most famous festival in the state and has been celebrated since the 18th century as a precursor to the abstinence of Lent. The ‘Carnaval’ is exclusive and unique to Goa, and was introduced by the Portuguese who ruled over Goa for over five hundred years.
Huge colourful parades take over the state’s cities with bands, floats and dances, while the evenings mean serious partying wherever you are. Try not to miss the final day’s festivities, which conclude with the famous red-and-black dance held by the Clube Nacional in Panjim.
The float parades are organised in association with the State Tourism Department. The float parade in Panaji will be led by a special float hosting King Momo, a specially decorated float, which will declare the decree of eat, drink and merry.
Sao Joao Festival
The Sao Joao Festival is most pompously celebrated in Goa amongst the Catholic community and is dedicated to St. John the Baptist which is celebrated on 24th June every year. This occasion marks the celebration by the local youth in the villages of Goa who normally get drunk and jump into wells according to the existing tradition of Sao Joao festival.
They consume plenty of fruits on this occasion and are virtually unstoppable when they indulge in revelry. Specially in Salcete taluka, different types of folk dances or Mandos are held which are popularly known as Sangodds. Fruits and other eatables are exchanged between friends and relatives.
The Shigmo Festival in Goa is a colour festival celebrated in the month of “Falgun” as per Saka Calendar. During this festival period famous temple “Yatras” are held. Processions are carried out at temples by throwing “gulal” and dancing with god and goddess umbrellas and “Dindis”. This festival celebration is organized in different cities to attract tourists. Processions are carried out in cities with traditional goan dances and modern floats. People are honored for best performance in the procession and best float decorators.
Being celebrated in the villages, the “Shigmotsav” or Shigmo festival, a grand five-day festival of colours, is also considered as the spring festival of Goa. Its celebrations begin with the Holi, the festival of colours celebrated across the country on Thursday. The festival commemorates the homecoming of the warriors who had left their homes and families at the end of Dussera to fight the invaders.
This quite unusual celebration takes place to mark the end of Diwali festival season. According to mythological legend Lord Krishna defeated and killed the Demon Tripur on the day of Kartik Purnima.
The people celebrated Krishna’s victory and the end of the demon’s tyranny by releasing lamps in the river. Since then it has been a tradition all over India to release small lamps in the river during the time of Diwali and especially Kartik Purnima.
Giant effigies of Ravana, Meghnada, and Kumbhakarna being built days before indicate the arrival of one of the most significant and highly revered festivals of India – Dussehra, preceded by the nine-day Navratri. The sights of these huge and full effigies pass on the message of preparing for the festivities that highlight this auspicious festival. Dussehra, the celebration of victory over evil, is a devout festival of the Hindus, marked on the tenth day of the bright half of the month of Ashwin, as per the Hindu calendar, at the end of the nine days of Navratri. Also referred to as Vijaya Dashmi, Dasara, or Dashain, this holy occasion brings together families and friends to indulge in the worship and devotion of Goddess Durga and her nine forms, apart from celebrating the triumph of Lord Rama over the demon king, Ravana. Though this blissful occasion is observed across the country, larger-than-life celebrations are held in Delhi and Varanasi, the most popular places to witness them.
Each year when holi is celebrated you know that spring has emerged and it is time to break free from your winter cocoons and bask in the sunny weather. The atmosphere is ecstatic with people spreading there infectious good cheer to others and the ambiance seeming to have an effect on the greenery with bountiful, colorful blooms seen all around. It is a commonly established fact that there is no other Hindu festival that is as fun-filled, lively and energetic as Holi. With an overdose of music, dance, games, mirth, and lots of color to indulge in, Holi is definitely one of the most awaited festivals of the year. Speaking of Holi one cannot forget to mention the ‘pichkaris’ and the pool of colored water to splash into, definitely a fun way to cool off the heat wave. The festival has something for everyone. Also, Holi give a perfect opportunity to treat the taste buds with the delectable ‘Gujhias’ and ‘Papris’ and of course who can forget to mention ‘bhang’ a milky drink that could give a high.