Hanv Saiba Carnivalak Voitha! A Bunch of Kodiyalgars having a Bash at Goa Carnival 2023

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Hanv Saiba Carnivalak Voitha! A Bunch of Kodiyalgars (Mangaloreans) having a Bash at Goa Carnival 2023

Panjim/Margao-Goa: Finally after a long break from the pandemic, lockdown and what was not created by the deadly virus Covid-19, Goa is back to celebrate Viva Carnival, in full swing. 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 Portuguese 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) see 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 is chosen from among the participants.

Goa Carnival goes for four days and nights finishing on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent. Lent characterises fasting or abstinence from meat for the 40 days prior to Easter and is a significant event for Catholics. Carnival is the most anticipated event in Goa and all the preparations for the carnival celebrations begin early on in December when the streets are beautifully decorated with attractive lighting and luxurious grand balls are held. You can feel the excitement building up for weeks before the carnival. The renowned Goa Carnival began on Saturday with a float parade along the Mandovi river in Panaji in the presence of Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and state tourism minister Rohan Khanute. The four-day-long festivities for the first time saw the presence of a helicopter showering flower petals and a fleet of boats accompanying the floats.

Masked revellers were plentiful as King Momo trundled down the streets of Panjim. Cheering him on were a few locals and tourists. Although the tiredness of the Carnival in Porvorim that took place just yesterday had still not worn off, the unexplained energy that the people of Goa felt was something that not even a can or two of Red Bull or a few cold ones of KFc could deliver. After all, the curtain raiser Carnival parade was held in Porvorim for the first time ever! It was a familiar yearning – the streets of Panjim were calling! A sizable number of “vloggers” or “influencers” were seen walking around, trying to capture images of the various tableaux, with some interacting with the dancers.

The Panjim Carnival finally took off with all pomp and grandeur, with the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant saying a few opening words, a few minutes later a helicopter surprised everyone when it showered marigold petals on the crowd making it look like a very special occasion. “Such festivities increase the happiness index of the state,” CM Sawant said. The aim was to showcase the “Old world carnival” to the people, while the introduction of a helicopter and a fleet of boats added a modern dimension. King Momo, Russel D’Souza, then read the merry-making decree and the rest is history. The floats, the people, the music and the dancing – it was Viva Carnival all the way to the end!

King Momo’s decree set the pace for the celebrations and soon after floats — traditional and commercial — took over the D B Marg. There were floats creating awareness and some shared insights into issues like diabetes, organ donation and turtle nesting. One poster that was pasted on a colourful car read, ‘The devil lives in a bottle. Don’t let cheers turn into tears’, highlighting the fatal accidents that have marred Goa in the last few months. There were floats like the traditional Goan ‘poder’, frogs, weddings and more that entertained the crowd. The most entertaining of them all, the independent candidates, walked the streets as characters like ‘Groot’ from the Marvel series, a Goan bride, Avatar, and men drenched in silver paint from head to toe!

Carnival is more than just a festival because it is a force that unites everyone. The carnival parade witnessed a mix of tradition and creativity in the tableaux which were presented at the parade that consisted of floats in various categories. I feel that it’s a good platform to bring awareness through these floats and give out a social message since most of the floats were quite educational which could give a message to the locals, tourists and also those in authority in various civic departments. The traditional floats depicting Goa’s well-maintained traditions attracted the attention of the mammoth crowd. The parade floats this year hit closer to home than usual, with tableaux featuring coconut pluckers, fisherfolk, cane weavers, potters, and feni distillers. A culinary extravaganza with a host of food stalls and culinary pop-ups was set up at Samba Square.

As the crowd on the road shoulders swelled, the police personnel had a tough time controlling them. The cops forcibly brought down some revellers who had climbed to the top of the trees in the city to avoid any untoward incidents. Following the parade in Panjim, it was all about fun, frolic and dance at the Samba Square in Panjim on Saturday night, where Goa’s top bands were in attendance featuring The Imperial, Blackslades, Forefront, and the star attraction of the night was “The Nightingale of Goa” LORNA CORDEIRO who rocked the arena even at her golden ripe age. Lorna was felicitated on the occasion for her immense contribution to Goan music. Hail Lorna! But with the BJP government ruling Goa, there were lots of restrictions enforced on merry-making, including the music to stop by 10 pm, the time when revellers get ready to have fun. What a joker government!

On Sunday 19 night at the Samba Square, the bands playing are Ambassadors, Brother-In-Arms, and Crimson Tide; On Monday 20 February, the bands are The Jam, Sonia Shirsat & Aniceto; and Alcatraz; and on Tuesday 21 the bands playing are- Sherise, UZO, Archies and Tidal Wave. Now, after Panjim, the celebrations will move to Margao, the commercial capital, on Sunday, February 19. On February 20, the fun will move to Vasco and then to Mapusa on February 21. Besides these big celebrations, places like Morjim, Curtorim and Quepem are organising Carnival on a smaller scale.

There were a bunch of “Kodiyalgars” aka “Mangalurgars” who were having a nice time partying with “Goenkars” at the Carnival – It’s no doubt that Mangaloreans like to party-and when there is nothing much of fun and frolic taking place 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 Mangaluru like to go and get into a revelry mood. Speaking to Team Mangalorean, Sudarshan Shetty from Kundapur said, “For years I have been hearing of Goa Carnival and wanted to witness it, and today is the FIRST time I made it for the carnival and it’s truly amazing fun and merrymaking. Glad I am here with my friends and will make the best use of the three days stay in Goa”.

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1 Comment

  1. Well guys. I live in Goa for 17 years. Being Mangalorean does not seem to be the best thing to tell people in Goa especially the Goan Catholics who treat Mangalorean Catholics the way we treat Mallus in Dubai or Mangalore. Interestingly in thier Tiatrs we are the quintessential villains. Not sure why they have issues they have with us but trust seems to be low. I honestly don’t think they need the respect that we Mangaloreans love to give Goans since they have very little of it for us.

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