Nobody can ever accuse Goa of not being fun! And the place only more exciting as the month of February draws closer and leads us to the Goa Carnival. The event reinforces the fun-loving culture of Goa, where social conventions are relaxed, and people wearing masks toss flour and sawdust at one another and squirt each other with colored water! The celebrations are much like what goes on during the Hindu festival of Holi.
In Panaji, a massive parade is held in honour of King Momo – the head of the festival. All around you can see floats and bands and dancers and stilt-walkers dressed up as colourful Walt Disney characters and figures in African masks. The procession finally comes to an end at the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. Afterward, there is a lot of dancing in the town squares, public halls, and on the beaches, with the Tango and Waltz being the most preferred choices! The festivities finally end at dawn on Ash Wednesday, when most attendees head for church services.
Goa Carnival is indeed a legacy of the Portuguese which is preserved till date. People would throw old pans, pots, and other kitchen utensils out of the windows as a symbolic gesture to discard the old and dirty before the 40 days of Lent. There are feasts galore, and delightfully tasty pastries and cakes being distributed by convents. People, literally, gorge on food for these three days of Carnival. Although many rituals and traditions of the festival are no longer followed, and some have been changed over time but the spirit of the carnival still is the same in essence.
This year, the Carnival will begin on 9th February 2013 and go on till 12th Februar. A visit is therefore highly recommende, if you really want to get a first hand taste of Goanese culture. One of Goa’s most eagerly awaited events, the carnival gives people just another excuse to let their hair down! The fact that veteran actor Chiranjeevi is expected to open the event only further boosts the interest it piques in all travel lovers!