FESTIVALS IN GOA BY ROMMEL FERNANDES
If you are wondering about the best time to visit Goa, then try and time your visit to coincide with any of the numerous festivals and events in Goa. Goa opens its arms and welcomes you warmly to become a part of its unique festivals and events. The festivals and events of Goa are an important part of tourism in Goa. Carnival (Held in mid-April) The word Carnival comes from the latin word "Carne Vale" which means "farewell to meat", meaning that those were the days one could eat meat before the lent season began. Earlier in Goa the Carnival celebration used to be a quiet affair with celebrations being centered around a village. Carnival was an indulgence of festivities and merry making young people swarmed the streets throwing colored powder on each other. It was only after 1961 that floats were introduced. Today with the participation of the Government and also due to big corporations using it as a platform for advertising, a lot of commercialisation of Carnival has taken place. Today there are bigger and creative floats which include the King Momo, traditional dances and floats based on themes. There are lots of cultural programs and dances organised all over the state during the Carnival season. The festivities begin with the King Momo announcing the Carnival open. Carnival floats are paraded in the major cities of Goa. One can see people dressed in masks and funny and fancy clothes to amuse people. Lots of colors are sprinkled all over. San Joao (Held on 24th June) Come 24th June every year, it's celebration time in Goa, as its "San Joao." It is said that on this day, St.John the Baptist leaped in his mother's womb. This leap was considered to be a leap of joy. This festival derives its name from the saint and people celebrate this day by jumping into lakes, wells and rivers across the state. It's also known as the "Javoiache fest" which means the "The feast of the Sons-in-law of the village." This is a time when newly wed sons-in-law celebrate at the houses of their mothers-in-law. On this occasion the mother presents her daughter with a basket full of fruits to be taken to her new home and they are distributed with friends, relatives and neighbours. Young as well as the old take part in the "San Jao" Festivities. They wear floral crowns on their heads and dance to the beats of drums. Sangodd (Held on 29th June) The traditional 'Sangodd' festival is held in the village of Candolim on the feast of St.Peter & St.Paul on 29th June. The Sangodd begins at the Orda Jetty after a prayer service at the Holy Cross Chapel, followed by a cultural program on top of the stage at the jetty and goes on making few halts along the bank of Candolim creek and each time it halts a cultural program follows, before it returns back to the Jetty. One can hear chants of "Viva San Pedro," just like people say "Viva San Joao" during the feast of St.John the Baptist.
Sangodd has a history of around 150 years. Looking back to the inception of the Sangodd at Orda (Candolim), it is stated that many fishermen lived here. Since St.Peter is the patron of fishermen, they celebrated his feast taking out the Sangodd. A colorful festival of boats is organized. There is a live cultural program on a church like structure that is erected on four boats. The binding together of the boats is called "Sangodd." Many artists of the Konkani stage along with the villagers take part in the cultural program organised in the evening at Sangodd. Bonderam (Held in late August) The "Bonderam" festival is celebrated on the Island of Divar on the fourth Saturday of August every year. The word "Bonderam" originated from the involvement of flags. "Bandeira" is the Portuguese word for flag. It is stated that during the Portuguese rule in Goa there were frequent disputes between two sections of the Divar village, namely Sao Mathias and Piedade over property issues. These often led to violence and fights in the village. To find a solution to this problem, the Portuguese introduced a system of demarcation of boundaries with flags. The rival groups used to knock down the flags with stones. In memory of them, during the Bonderam festival people used to use the â€œfotash," an instrument made of bamboo, and berries/pepper corns were used as missiles in a mock fight between rival groups and also those participating in the festival. However, today this practice is stopped as it used to result in eye injuries etc. The festival is a memoir to the protest by the local villagers against the Portuguese while trying to resolve the property ownership disputes. The island of Divar comes to life on the day of the Bonderam festival. Divar being situated at a distance of 12 kilometers from Panjim is away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The Bonderam festival starts with a flag parade from the main Divar junction which is accompanied by a brass band and a declaration of the festival being open. Later there is a fancy dress competition which is followed by the traditional float parade. Divar village has six wards and each ward of the village has a float at the parade. This is followed by a live band performance by famous music bands from Goa. This is a very popular monsoon festival in Goa and it draws huge crowds from all parts of Goa. Ganesh Chaturthi (Held in early September) The Festival of Lord Ganesh or Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with a lot of pomp and gaiety all over Goa. Shiva and Parvati had two children Kartikkaya and Ganesh. Ganesh is the elephant-headed god of prosperity and wisdom and is probably the most popular of Hindu gods. Ganesh obtained his head due to his father's notorious temper. Coming back from a long trip, Shiva discovered Parvati in her chamber with a young man. Not pausing to think that their son might have grown up during his absence, Shiva chopped off his head. He was then forced by Parvati to bring his son back to life but could only do so by giving him the head of the first living thing he saw - an elephant. In every picture of Ganesh you will see a rat next to it. The rat is the vehicle of Lord Ganesh.
The author referred to various sources while compiling this piece and wants to thank the people who wrote the original stuff.
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