Goa Carnival: Let the good times roll| Last Updated: February 5, 2013 at 4:13 PM
To see Goa at the peak of its festivities is during the carnival celebrations. This festival is more like an extravaganza of pageantry, music and colour as each of the main towns in the state hosts its own impressive parade of beautiful floats. As the floats wind their way through the streets accompanied by lively dancers moving in rhythm to the lilting music, the parade is a sight to behold.
The festival is a legacy of several hundred years of Portuguese rule. While some consider it to be a relic of ancient pagan rituals
honouring the gods of fertility, nature and wine, others consider it a festival that marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring.
The three-day festivities begin on the Saturday before Ash Wednesday which usually falls in late February or in the first fortnight of March. The carnival festivities have evolved over time and today the main attractions are its beautifully decorated and colourful float parades. There are different categories of floats — from the traditional to the funky — with attractive prizes for each category.
The first parade is held in Panjim followed by pageants in the other cities. Atop the main float is King Momo, the mock king of revelry and chaos who presides over the festivities. As King Momo and his entourage all attired in colourful costume pass by, they wave to the crowds who respond with enthusiastic cheers and shouts of ‘Viva Carnaval!’ With many aspirants vying for the honour of being selected as King Momo, entries are invited a month before the festival and a selection committee chooses the brawniest and the best.
Beautifully attired dancers captivate the onlookers as they move in step to the beat of the music. The parade winds its way through the streets and comes to an end as King Momo reads aloud his decree — a joyous proclamation exhorting his subjects to enjoy three days of merrymaking.
First Published: February 6, 2013 at 8:57 AM