Eat, Drink & Make Merry! Goa Carnival 2021 to Kick Off this Weekend,13 – 16 February
- Eat, Drink & Make Merry! Goa Carnival 2021 to Kick Off this Weekend,13 – 16 February 2021. Team Mangalorean will be in Panjim and Margao to cover the highlights of the two days event. (Ref: Viva Goa! Viva Carnival 2020-the Unbelievable Four Happy & Fun Days before Lent ) The venues of Carnival are : Panjim -13th Feb 2021; Margao, Quepem – 14th Feb 2021; Vasco, Curchorem – 15th Feb 2021; and Mapusa, Morjim – 16th Feb 2021
Mangaluru: The mirthful exuberance of the fun and music loving people of Goa reaches its climax during the four day Goa Carnival celebrations. Introduced by the Portugese settlers who ruled Goa for about 500 years, and celebrated originally by the Catholics, this carnival, one-of-its-kind in the country has now dissolved all communal barriers. The four days preceding Lent (February) sees all Goa gyrating to the mad beat of music, fun, drink and dance. The festivities are presided over by King Momo, and his consort who are chosen from among the participants.
The carnival marks the celebrations before the month of Lent, which characterizes fasting or abstinence from meat. The noisy, crowded and usually boisterous float parade traces back to Goa’s Portuguese cultural heritage and is held in the days preceding the solemnity Ash Wednesday the first day of a 40-day period of abstinence and fasting observed by Catholics who make up nearly one-third of Goa’s population. This year Ash Wednesday falls on February 17. Lent ends in Easter and is significant for Catholics. However, the carnival celebration reverberates with echoes of pagan culture dating back to Roman Saturnalia and feasts of Apollo in Greece. The Carnival now has taken on much secular implications in most places that celebrate the carnival. The Goa Carnival for instance has turned out to be a major tourist attraction drawing thousands of tourists from all over the country.
The Carnival is set to motion on the first day-Fat Saturday evening with a colossal procession headed by King Momo. This procession is flocked by dancers, bands of troubadours dressed up as fortune tellers, hawkers, women, and older men in funny clothes. In earlier times the procession was characterized by mock battles among boys and men with fake cartridges stuffed with colored powder called cocotes, and chaff filled bombs.The carnival comes to an end with the famous red and black dance where women dressed in red tops and black skirts and men in red shirts and black trousers dance with bands in a colorful procession. Certain hotels in Goa also arrange for special celebrations for their guests during the carnival. Hotels and tickets need to be booked in advance as a mad rush of tourists make accommodation scarce and expensive. Guidelines for people to maintain Covid-19 protocol would be enforced.
The first day of the carnival will kick off in Panjim, where the Mayor of Panjim Uday Madkaikar had said. “The government has decided that we shall go ahead with the carnival. People have been stuck at home for a long time now and no events also have taken place. So this is an opportunity to come out and enjoy a bit and people have also begun taking precautions. People now know the measures to be taken to avoid Covid. So I don’t expect that there will be a big problem. Corona hasn’t ended, the cases may have come down compared to earlier. All measures will be taken. We will also appeal to people to take care,”.
The floats are led by King Momo, a mascot who is figuratively symbolically given the keys to the city and reads out a decree declaring three days of fun and merrymaking urging people to ‘Eat, drink and make merry!” Besides the float parades involving decorated floats representing various facets of Goa’s life and culture, the festival is also celebrated through dances and community events, all of which will be toned down this year.
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