Why Goan Carnival is something you should experience once in a lifetime?

 Goan Carnival

Goa, a place where the blue sea meets the white sandy beaches along with a contrast of green palm trees, one can only imagine how dreamy and exciting its carnival will be.

The Goan Carnival or Carnival is one of the most famous carnivals in India as well as the world. Sometimes, it is considered the Indian version of Mardi gras, because the participants revel and make merry like there is no tomorrow.

IMAGE: Goa Tourism

When and where does this take place?

The festival which celebrates the holiday spirit of Goa takes place for four days across the state. It usually passes through the cities of Panjim, Margao, Vasco da Gama and Mapusa. It takes place between February and March. You might have missed it, since it was held from Feb 22-25, 2020 this year.

Why is it significant?

It is an important festival, especially in Goa, as it had been here for over 500 years, after the Portuguese who landed here in the 18th century. It is a precursor to the abstinence of Lent, a fasting ritual followed by the Catholic Christians ahead of Easter Sunday. This is so, because, the word Carnival (Carnaval in Portuguese) itself means ‘to take away meat’ which transcribes the expression of the 40 days fasting of Lent.

IMAGE: Goa Tourism

How does the carnival kickstart?

Its variety and vibrance are in no par to any other. The Carnival starts in the evening with a massive parade, where King Momo leads the procession while being surrounded by dancers, several bands of musicians dressed up as fortune-tellers. Women and men from all ages in comical attires grace the pompous occasion. Dancing and partying till midnight is one of the highlights.

IMAGE: Goa Tourism

But the speciality of the carnival lies in the one-act plays. Here, the walking actors go about a village singing Intruzachim Geetam or Fella-Gitam accompanied by musical instruments that soaks the festive air. The Fell is an amusing song which sarcastically aims to correct human foolishness. Although this carnival began in Spanish and Portuguese colonies, it can very well be connected to the hedonistic partying traditions of the Romans and the Greeks.

Who is King Momo?

This is something very unique to India because King Momo is a mythical personality primarily found in the Latin Americas. He is the one who orders the party to get started. This interesting character was derived from the Greek word which means ‘blame’ or ‘disgrace’. He is the king of mockery and satire, as the concept of Carnival revolves around it. Because, in a carnival, the rich-poor divide blurs significantly as everyone comes together to celebrate. Interestingly, the character of King Momo in Goa is equivalent to its Latin American counterparts, because he orders to get the party started.

What happens on the final day of the festival?

The final day of this joyous celebration features the famous ‘Red and Black’ dance. Since it is the last day of celebration, almost everyone participates. So don’t forget to be a part of the last session.

Tips to remember before visiting Goa during the carnival!

Folks, if you don’t want to be stranded in the streets, then do book your hotels early since the carnival is a major crowd-puller due to which a majority of them gets filled quite fast. Don’t forget to pick your best clothes in order to look good and most importantly pick the right shoes to wear, because the street activities are bound to keep you on your feet.

Also, be alert and beware of pickpockets who run amok during such popular festivals.

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