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Goa Carnival Tour
Following Festival After Two Days
Carnival in Goa is a non-stop 3-day festival of color, song and music,
providing a healthy entertainment for all, young and old. The soothing
climate, full of fun- 'n' -frolic, which the Carnival generates, is much
longed for. It does not matter whether one enjoys or see others enjoying.
There is enthusiasm and happiness all around.
Meaning Behind Carnival
The word 'carnival' is said to be derived from the Latin 'Carne', meaning
meat, and 'Vale', which translates to 'good-bye'. Some also link the word
to 'Carnislevamen' or 'the pleasures of meat', focusing on the enjoyment
of meat during the festivities, before the abstinence that follows during
Another hypothesis suggests that the word came from 'Carrus Navalis',
the horse-drawn, boat-shaped carriage that was paraded during the Roman
festival Saturnalia, in honor of Saturn. It carried men and women in fancy
dresses, wearing masks, and singing obscene songs. It is possible that
the present-day concept of a carnival emerged from this parade.
Originination Of The Festivity
The Goa Carnival is an integral part of the Portuguese heritage of the
state, which was a dominion of Portugal till 1961. The carnival epitomizes
the fun-loving culture that is characteristic of Goa. It was introduced
by the erstwhile rulers as a rowdy celebration in which flour, eggs, oranges,
lemons, mud, sand-filled gloves along with dirty water, various liquids
and glue were aimed at passersby. Used pots, pans, and other kitchen utensils
were also thrown out of windows. Perhaps this was done to discard the
old and the dirty before the Lenten fast.
Fierce battles were waged in the streets, with plaster-of-Paris eggs,
wax lemons, corncobs and beans. Blows were dealt out liberally, with brooms
and wooden spoons. It was also an occasion for unchecked eating. People
gorged on rich food at lavish feasts, and convents distributed cakes and
pastries. Though celebrated for only three days, the preparations for
the festival would take many days, and build up to a frenetic pitch by
the eve of the carnival. The carnival in Goa still retains the core of
the original. A King of Chaos is elected, called King "Momo".
He presides over the three-day festivities, which attract visitors from
all over India and abroad.
A Musical Extravaganza
Street Plays, songs, dances, and unrehearsed farces mocking the establishment
are performed before an enthusiastic, responsive audience. Floats depicting
popular lullabies and nursery rhymes make a whimsical and colorful sight
on the streets. 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.
The contestants wear colorful costumes and elaborate masks. Amidst the
outrageous dresses seen on the street are some made of sheer, transparent
polythene. In the fun-filled ambience, people smear color on each other,
instead of the flour, eggs, fruit and water that used to be used in earlier
In Goan villages, however, the festivities have a more indigenous flavor.
Though celebrated by the Christian population of Goa, the carnival's only
relevance to Christianity is that it is celebrated before Lent. The festival
today has no religious undertones and has come to be a cultural highlight
of the state, rather than of the religion.
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