The Goan Carnival!
It was that time of the year when the streets of Goa came alive and laughter filled the air.A collective spirit of revelry seemed to rock. Festivities spilled and the streets came alive with colorful floats, strumming of guitars, graceful dancers and non-stop entertainment. There were a lot of colorful processions, high voltage dances, floats, and music. The melodious strumming of guitars rendered the air and a jolly fiesta overwhelmed all other senses. The Carnival which started as a local Portuguese festival had now transcended boundaries and religions over the years.
Goa with its universal appeal, sun-kissed beaches, extraordinary culture and vibrant festivals has its Carnival which is one of the most awaited festivals of Goa. Carnival (a Latin word, which means to take away meat) is a festival which is celebrated before Lent. Traditionally during Lent there are no weddings or any other celebrations and people abstain from rich foods and high living. The 40 days of Lent recalls the biblical account of the 40 days, Lord Jesus spent in the wilderness before his crucifixion. The history of the Carnival dates back to almost 500 years, to ancient Rome and Greece. The Portuguese introduced the Carnival when they established their colony in Goa. The Goan Carnival has gradually and certainly carved a niche of its own that can only be experienced in this tiny state.
This year in February, a major highlight of the Carnival was the King Momo Contest. The cooking competition at the food & cultural festival at Caranzalem, Panaji also saw many talented enthusiasts match their culinary skills against one another. Thousands of revelers including locals and tourists descended on the streets of Panaji to witness the spectacular and unique, 2013 Goa Carnival. Goa Chief Minister, Manohar Parrikar flagged off the festival. The Minister for Tourism, Government of Goa, Shri Dilip Parulekar voiced, The Goa Carnival is one of our biggest events of the year.
I hope that this event becomes the second-most popular event of the world after the Brazilian Carnival. This year, we had added more attractions including the food festival where Goan cuisine and cuisines from 15 other states were displayed. A hallmark of the much-awaited 3-day festival was the parading of colourful tableaux depicting the cultural heritage of Goa. The Carnival float parade blended noble themes with the comic, weird and bizarre. The highlight of the parade was anti-smoking campaign and a huge paper Mache dummy hanging from a makeshift gallows with a noose, urging ‘death’ as the punishment for rapists in the country.
Though a Christian festival, Carnival was celebrated with equal aplomb by Hindus, Muslims and Christians alike. People from all over the world thronged to Goa in large numbers. The 2013 Carnival saw as many as 50,000 tourists from Mumbai alone. This year the government extended the celebrations of the Carnival from 3 to 5 days. During these days, Bollywood actor and filmmaker, Farhan Akhtar added a special dash of spice with his performance. Starlets Neha Dhupia, Isha Koppikar and Tanushree Dutta too participated at the event. There were a heartwarming blend of hot fashion shows including the Wendell Rodricks Fashion Show and live music performances from famous names such as Parikrama, Indian Ocean and Anushka Manchanda. Goas own fusion star, Remo Fernandes ended the carnival with his live-wire performance that had the crowd imploring for more.