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Goa Carnival


Carnival or 'Carnem Levare' is a Portuguese word which means 'to take away meat' means putting away flesh. It is annual four day celebration sweeping Goa off its feet. Goa's well-known festival has been celebrated since the 18th century. Stated for its feasting-drinking-merrymaking party just before the 40 days of Lent; a time of chastity and devotement. Huge parades through the cities are formulated with bands, floats and dances and balls in the evenings. The final day concludes with the famous Red-and-Black dance held by the Clube Nacional in Panjim.

When does it fall?

This unique and exclusive festive is heralded in February. For three days and nights the streets come alive with colour. Held in mid February, the week long event is a time for lively processions, floats, the strumming of guitars, exclusive dances and of non-stop party.

Origination of The Festivity

The origin of carnival was due to the voluptuous feasts of ancient Rome and Greece. It made its emergence in the Spanish and Portuguese colonies, where it was transmuted into the very Latin singing-dancing-drinking turns. The carnival is governed by King Momo, who on the opening day orders his subjects to party. The carnival signifies the fun-loving culture that is symbol of Goa. It was initiated by the erstwhile rulers as a wild celebration in which flour, eggs, oranges, lemons, mud, sand-filled gloves along with dirty water, various liquids and glue were targeted at passersby. Fierce battles were waged in the streets, with eggs, wax lemons and beans. The carnival in Goa still remains the root of the pristine`. A King of Chaos is elected, called King "Momo". He controls over the three-day festivities, which attract visitors from all over India and abroad. Perhaps this was done to abandon the old and the dirty before the Lenten fast.

Celebrations Held

Street Plays, songs, dances and the merrymaking people perform before a fascinating and responsive audience. They compose and rehearse short plays inclusive of song, music and dance to be displayed during the carnival. The plays are generally related to history and are exhibited only by men. They perform the roles of women as well and are dressed in bright colorful costumes. The contestants wear colorful costumes and elaborate masks. They form the head of a parade of colorful and attractive troupes of masked whoopees dressed in gorgeous attires sing and dance in a playful music that is mostly performed live. The best groups are given handsome prizes. In the fun-filled ambience, people smear color on each other, instead of the flour, eggs, fruit and water that was used in past times. These celebrations, cultural functions and competitions are judged by specially selected people. King Momo distributes the prizes to the winners.

Everyone's Called

In Goan villages, however, the festivities have a natural flavor. Though celebrated by the Christian population of Goa, the carnival's only purpose to Christianity is that it is celebrated before Lent. The festival today has no religious buzz as such as is not celebrated anywhere than in India.

Goa Carnival