Margao-Goa: Hanv saiba polthodi vetha, Maka Saiba Carnavalak waat Dakoi!-That’s right. Me and my friends Loy, Naresh and Ajith packed our bags and took the road to take part in the fun and frolic Goa Carnaval (Carnival) 2016, a four-day fun-filled extravaganza where we ate, drank and made merry. We were also joined by a few Mangaloreans namely Jossie Rego, John Vas, Rudolph Lobo, Henry Rodrigues, Sylvester D’Silva, Praveen KV and Chinappa in Margao. “Carnaval 2016” festivities kicked off in the capital city of Goa (Panjim) on February 6, 2016 evening amidst much fanfare. Shalmon Sardinha, son of former Goa Chief Minister, Francisco Sardinha, led the parade as “King Momo” together with Bengali actor of the national award winning Konkani film “Nachom-ia-Kumpasar”, Palomi Ghosh.
The parade also saw International participation with a number of dancers from Liverpool and Cape Town lending their moves to the celebrations. Artistically designed floats depicting larger-than-life traditional Goan fruits, vegetables, fish, wild animals and the Mando in all its glory were a treat for the eyes of thousands of people who had lined the streets of the parade route. A number of floats sent out a strong message in support of the Swachh Bharath campaign and against the ills of drugs, child labour, and deforestation. One float was even titled “Exit Rat-Race”, and was flagged by number of children riding bicycles, highlighting the importance of ‘nurturing unconditional happiness’.
A recent amendment to the Goa Daman and Diu Preservation of Trees Act 1984 which has dropped the coconut tree from the official list of trees, also found representation in many floats, urging citizens to save the tree. The mud-skipper, locally known as “Kheldo” and found on the mud banks of Goa’s backwaters, also had a float dedicated to it made entirely of waste material to highlight the pollution affecting Goa’s rivers. A pawan Hans helicopter flew above showering the flag-off area with petals and confetti, which was first of its kind aerial float to soar over a carnival parade in Goa.
While some of the floats depicted traditional facets of Goan culture, others highlighted Swachh Bharat. Some of the floats that caught the attention of the crowd were: “Save World-Plant a Tree-Think Before you Cut”; Musical Flavours of Goa (with the message of coconut tree as its central theme); Uxichem Ghod (Extracting jaggery from Sugarcan4e); Curtorchyo Bhajyo (Vegetables of Curtorim); and Save Frog -save Fields”. The music accompanying the floats brought the festive crowd, particularly tourists on their feet. The parade also had themes from the national level, effectively advertised by the visual media.
The float “Save the Girl Child” sought to broadly picturise the “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” campaign. On its part, the government too chipped in with its own float-“Swachh Bharat”, by GSUDA displaying Gandhiji’s spectacles as the logo. Private initiatives were also not left behind. “Boys of Sangolda” came up with their own version of “Swachh Bharath” campaign- “Re-Use, Reduce, Recycle” was their slogan, against the backdrop of the ‘Swachh Bharath’. Bringing back back memories of the ISL frenzy was FC Goa float, which displayed all its paraphernalia like blazers, funny caps and the ubiquitous orange colour, led by a mock FC Goa playing football.
The musical traditions of Goa was aptly depicted by the float “Goencho Mando”-it had a Goan traditional mansion forming its backdrop and Goans in their formal attire all ready to sing the “Mando” with musicians in accompaniment. Some aother floats also had their own way of attracting attention. “Ancient Egypt” carried a replica of one of the Seven Wonders of the World-the Egyptian Pyramids. Rivona Rockers had their very own ‘Super Heroes’. After the float parade, it was all excitement and extravaganza of music and dance , where the revelers enjoyed every bit of it till late night.
On the second day of Carnival 2016, it was King Momo’s sway over the state’s commercial capital-Margao, as music rent the air, fun and frolic spilled onto the streets , and revelers made merry as the City played host to the Carnival float parade organized by the Margao Municipal Council (MMC) and the state’s department of tourism. Feet-tapping music and floats conveying socially relevant and environment conservation and protection messages descended on Margao as Carnaval fever gripped the State’s commercial capital on Sunday, 7 February. Fun and frolic virtually ruled the roost as King Momo, Shalmon sardinha along with Queen Momo, Mumtaz Sheik leading the the float parade read out the edict to ring in the celebrations brefore tyhe 40 days of Lenten season.
The parade comprising of nearly 75 was flagged off near the Colva Circle, where state ministers, MLAs, government officials and other VIPs joined revelers in welcoming Momo the monarch and his contingent as it led the float parade. This year the parade route was shifted from its original route near Muncipal Library area to Colva Circle to Ravindra Bhavan.
Margao witnessed a mix of tradition and creativity in the tableau’s which were presented at the parade that consisted of floats in various categories. Thematic floats depicting social issues and public causes were the hallmark of the parade. It wasn’t just Bollywood and the oh-so-skinny young King Momo that caught eye at the Carnival this year -Be it pom-poms, becoming a human green vegetable or taking a symbolic dump on the environment, some floats got super-creative this year. The ‘social message’ floats were equally eyeball-grabbing. I feel it’s a good platform to bring awareness and give out a social message, since most of the floats were quite educative which could give a message to the locals, tourists and also those in authority in various civic departments.
The Margao Municipal Council’s Carnival committee had worked in tandem with others to make this Carnival a grand and successful one. The traditional floats depicting Goa’s well maintained traditions attracted the attention of the mammoth crowd. As the crowd on the road shoulders swelled , the police personnel had a tough time in controlling them. The cops forcibly brought down some revelers who had climbed to the top of the trees in the city to avoid any untoward incidents. The float parade was followed by a short formal programme, where couple of bans in attendance kept the crowd grooving and jiving.
On the third it wa Carnival fiesta at Vasco on Monday 8 February, where thousands of people from the nearby town and villages had thronged the Swantantra Path at Vasco to witness the carnival floats parade-chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar flagged off the parade in the presence of other minister and VIPs, including Vasco MLA Carlos Almeida. Among many other floats, the floats presented by the Navy and the Beach Shack Owners Welfare Society were highly appreciated. The four-day Carnaval festivities which kicked-off in Panjim will end on 9 February in Mapusa.
“Mangalurgars” had a nice time partying with “Goankars” at the Carnival : It’s no doubt that Mangaloreans like to party-and when there is nothing much of fun and frolic taking place here in the coastal city, Mangaloreans look for any other destination where they could enjoy to the best of life-and Goa is one such destination that party lovers of Mangalore like to go and get into a revelry mood. And this year quite a few Mangaloreans were seen at the Goa Carnival 2016, where they enjoyed the beauty and fun of Goa, along with music, dance, cocktails and authentic Goan cuisine.
As Mangaloreans know, food and drink are huge draws in Goa – While seafood, feni and pungent Goan sausages are on almost every travel itinerary, there was much more on offer at the Food and Culture Festival, organized by Goa Tourism as a precursor to Goa Carnival 2016. The free entry meant that visitors poured in to participate in the festivities, and off course we were there, because free is always better, fun and merrier. From seafood grills to pork sorpothel from kebabs to biriyani, from iced drinks to sinful desserts, everything was on sale at the food festival. Aromas competed in the cool evening air and the dressed-up stalls offered a feast for the senses. While carnivores gorged for joy, a few mollified vegetarians could be seen secretly tucking into something fleshy on this night of sin.
Although there were some hassles created by the cops when the party went on beyond the curfew time of 11 pm, other than that we Mangaloreans had one heckuva time at the Carnival 2016. Viva Carnaval ! Viva Goa !- where fun never stops.