Goa Carnival is round the corner. And so, it’s time for you to make plans to visit this tourist paradise in India. The carnival would be held for four days starting from February 25 to 28, 2017. Goa Tourism Development Corporation and the state Tourism Department have started making preparations to jointly organize float parades to be traditionally headed by King Momo. The float parades would be taking place at several places across the small western Indian state.
According to the state Tourism Department, the first parade would be organized in Panaji, the capital city of the state, on February 14. Other cities such as Margao, Shiroda, Curchorem, Vasco, Ponda and Mapusa would also be organizing their own float parades. The parade in Margao is scheduled to be held on February 15. The next day, i.e. February 16, will see parades being held in Curchorem, Vasco and Shiroda. The last day of the carnival on February 17 will witness parades being organized in Ponda and Mapusa.
The lead float carrying King Momo’s impressive entourage would be participating in the parades at Panjim, Mapusa, Vasco and Margao. King Momo’s appearance heralds the start of carnival festivities as he is considered by all as the king of carnivals. The float parades this year would be focusing on themes related to socio-cultural, tourism and environment.
The history of the carnival is nearly 500 years old when the Portuguese ruled Goa as its colony. The carnival was quite popular initially in ancient Greece and Rome, and later on also gained immense popularity in Portugal and Spain as well. Since Goa was a colony of the Portuguese, the carnival was thus introduced in the state by its erstwhile rulers. The carnival celebrations then had a Portuguese influence. The celebrations nowadays though has traces of Portuguese, but is largely more Goan in essence. The carnival has now become the most important event eagerly awaited by large section of Goans and tourists from around the world. The carnival celebrations take place before the month of Lent, during which the faithful either observe fasts or abstain from eating meat during the period. Lent finally concludes in Easter. The carnival celebration finds its roots in pagan culture found in ancient feasts of Apollo in Greece and Roman Saturnalia. Over the years it has become secular in nature and is celebrated in many places. Today, Goa Carnival has become one of the biggest tourist attractions in the country.
Celebrations and Activities
The preparations for the carnival celebration start from the month of December itself. Float parades in various cities of Goa are among the major highlights. However, other forms of entertainment such as music, dance and short plays highlighting Goa’s culture and tradition in a unique way, also take place during the carnival. This period of unlimited fun and merrymaking sees people taking part in fashion parades, dancing processions, musical concerts by local and national artists, and enjoying local beverages and delicacies.