|The 'Goa Carnival’ is
exclusive and unique to Goa, and was introduced by the Portuguese who ruled
over Goa for over five hundred years.
lthough, Christians primarily
celebrate the three-day festival, it has also absorbed Hindu tradition
revelry, western dance forms, and turned into a pageantry of sorts.
Though it started as a
celebration enjoyed only by the local population, it has today crossed
the state frontiers and attracts thousands of people from all over the
The carnival is held in
February for three days and nights, when the legendary king Momo takes
over the state and the streets come alive with music and colour.
Then begins the weeklong
event, which is a time of unbridled festivity and merry-making, which has
been celebrated since the 18th Century. The carnival is meant to be a feasting-drinking-merrymaking
orgy just before the austere 40 days of Lent. Huge parades are organized
throughout the state with bands, dances and floats out all night on the
streets, and grand balls held in the evenings. The carnival concludes with
the famous red-and-black dance held by the Club National in Panajim on
the final day.
Among the many and various
colourful feasts and festivals that are celebrated in Goa, the Goa Carnival
is the most eagerly awaited event.
The word Carnival (Carnival
in Portuguese) is derived from a Latin word meaning ‘to take away meat’
and is an expression of the 40-day period of fasting of Lent, during which
abstinence from meat is a rule.
The carnival is not celebrated
anywhere else in India and was in decline even in Goa in the last few years
of Portuguese rule. Its revival with the Liberation of Goa, and a boost
to its tourism was therefore welcome. From being almost on the brink of
decline, this three day festival of gay abandon and riotous revelry now
attracts thousands of tourists to Goa from all over India every year!
The origins and nature
of the carnival can be traced to the hedonistic feasts of ancient Rome
and Greece. These carnivals started in the Spanish and Portuguese colonies,
and gradually became known for their singing, dancing and drinking. The
carnival is presided over by King Momo, who on the opening day orders his
subjects to party. Hotel bookings must be done in advance for carnival
as the festival attracts thousands of tourists.
Panaji, Jan 20 (IANS)
This year’s Goa carnival will be celebrated sans the Brazilian Samba float
after a string of controversies it attracted over the years, a top official
tourism department said.
“We do not have the float
from Brazil this year, but our traditional Goan floats will be much better
than the floats from Brazil,” Goa Tourism Development Corporation managing
director Nikhil Dessai told reporters Wednesday.