The state of Goa is all set to organize the annual Goa Carnival, among the much-awaited festival of the year. This year, Carnival will be held from 10th February to 13th February 2018. Goa will come alive to celebrate the four day annual event with spectacular float parades, music, dance and an array of events.
The Carnival is exclusive and unique to Goa, and was introduced by the Portuguese who ruled Goa for over 500 years. The word Carnival is derived from a Latin word meaning to take away meat and is an expression of the 40-day period of fasting of Lent, during which abstinence from meat is a rule. The origins and nature of the Carnival can be traced to the hedonistic feasts of ancient Rome and Greece. Earlier, the festival was generally meant for the Christians residing in Goa but now it attracts thousands of people from around the globe.
For three days and nights, the streets of Goa come alive with traditional carnival costumes, floats, strumming of guitars, western dance forms, etc. A number of acrobats, brass bands, clowns, dancers, fire eaters, jesters etc. are seen to be performing in the streets of some of the major cities of Goa. The carnival includes of a famous red-and-black dance which is organised by the Club National in Panaji on the final day of the Carnival. Apart from the non-stop festivity, the streets are decorated with lighting and grand balls.
Float Parades in Panjim, Margao, Vasco and Mapusa will be held from February 10th -13th respectively. The main Float Parade of the festival will be held on the first day, i.e. Fat Saturday evening, starts with a mammoth procession of floats of a variegated pageant of colour and gaiety, headed by King Momo. In the three days of celebrations, cultural functions and competitions abound, and are judged by specially selected people. King Momo distributes the prizes to the winners. Every year, a person from the state is chosen to play King Momo – a mythological character who symbolically rules the state during the carnival time and leads the float parades. This year, Bruno Azaredo (57), from Utorda village in South Goa district, has been selected to play the role of King Momo and lead the float parades. The float parades are organized in association with the State Tourism Department.
Various Carnival committees have been set up and guidelines drawn up for smooth conduct of the four day festivities. In addition to maintaining the traditional and cultural essence of Carnival, this year the focus is weeding out non eco-friendly floats, polluting junk vehicles and a total crack down on indecency. Goa carnival is an open-event and can be attended by anybody. There are no tickets for this colorful festival. Hotel bookings must be done in advance for carnival as the festival attracts thousands of tourists.
Goa is India’s smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in Konkan region, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations of India with beautiful beaches and historical sites. Goa is India’s richest state with highest GDP per capita. Panaji is the state’s capital while Vasco Da Gama is the largest city. Goa Beaches are known worldwide for its serenity and cleanliness.
Renowned for its beaches, places of worship and world heritage sites, Goa is visited by large numbers of international and domestic tourists each year. Dudhsagar Falls, Basilica of Bomb Jesus, Se Cathedral, Reis Mogos Fort, Aguada Fort and Chapora Fort are the some popular places to visit in Goa other than beaches.