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Fairs and Festivals of Goa

Fairs and Festivals in Goa
The Indian culture inspired by the two epics Mahabharata and Ramayana, and the Vedas, often just needs reasons to celebrate. Reasons for celebrations is often available in the mythologies relating to the Puranas. Festivals are part of the Indian culture and most of the festivals are related to Hindu religion, but are celebrated by all people irrespective of religious boundaries. The only difference will be the nature of celebrations.

Among the various festivals celebrated n Goa the Shimgo and Cranival are most awaited ones. Shimgo or holi festival bids farewell to winter and welcomes spring. It is celebrated throughout India. Goans have given their own splendor to this festival,. Celebrated from the 11th Monday to 15th Monday of March, Rang Panchami is the important day when people use gulal to show their enthusiasm and joy.

Goa Carnival
Goa carnival is a unique event that reminds the people of the Portuguese culture . Goa carnival is a fest that has around 400 years of history. Started by the Portuguese, in the beginning this was celebrated by Portuguese Whites and their slave blacks. The local browns were just onlookers. Itís said that the Portuguese got this fair from their traditions gained from Italy. The Italians celebrated this carnival as festival for Sarturn .Later on the Christians started to celebrate this as a part of their 40 day no meat fast(lent) preceding the Easter. The word carnival means to ďput away fleshĒ carelevvare in Old Italian. Carn meant flesh, and leavare to remove.

Now days young and old join the carnival without religious boundaries. Though it has religious overtones, the obscene done during this three day festival makes the fest different any other. The playwrites arrange for khels which criticize the establishment.In the early days flour .rotten eggs and other things like old utensils were thrown on each other and on passers by. Women in masks use to sing obscene songs . But now the throwing of color is also a part of the fest.

The king of Chaos ,King Momo is elected and leads a procession, through the streets. This procession has floats depicting popular lullabies and nursery rhymes. This 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. There are no onlookers in the carnival every body is a participant and everyone enjoy their own way.

A land where the language and culture change every mile, itís no surprise that a festival like deepawali (meaning rows of Earthen Lamps), is celebrated bursting of crackers in some parts as Goa where as in Kerala just a few hundred kms away only lamps are lit. Goa celebrates Deepawali to mark the return of lord Rama from Vanavas Ram,the 8th incarnation of Lord Vishnu, kills the demon king Narakasur(Ravana) and returns to his capital. This is considered auspicious day and everything old is cast off and new beginning is made. People buy new clothes, utensils etc .Itís considered most suitable to start a. financial year with deepawali. Deepawali is a four day festival with Laxmi Pujan, Narak Chaturdashi, Deepawali and Bhau Beej. Laxmi Pujan is the day, when people buy new utensils. Narak Chaturdashi is known as Chhoti Diwali (minor Diwali) when in every household 5-7 lamps are lit on the door and corners. These lamps also called Panteo represent the human body. And during this period itís believed hat human body is purified. The human body consists of he pancha thatvas(five elements) , i.e., fire, water, air, space and earth. Deepawali reminds the perishable nature of human body ,which comes from dust and goes back as dust.

Diwali(another name for Deepawali) falls on the day of Amavaseya, the next day of which is called Pratipad, when every kind of transaction, receipt or payment and business is postponed.

Chovoth or Ganesh Chathurthi
Ganesh Chathurthi or chovoth is the most important Hindu festival of Goa. People make mandovs(small Pandals) and bring the statue of Lord Ganapathi (elephant headed son of Lord Mahadev and Gauri). Women fast on this day. The festival is celebrated usually for three days. Itís time of great rejoicing for the children. The girls collect different types and shapes of leaves for Gauri, Mahadev and Ganapati. Arthees of different kinds are arranged for Ganapathi during this period. On the last day of the puja The Ganapati idol is immersed in to water i.e in sea , river, lake or well.

Gokulashtimi is celebrated to remember the birth o Lord Krishna ( an incarnation of Lord Vishnu). Hindu mythology believes the Lord Vishnu takes incarnation in different forms to destroy evil forces in the world. The aim of the Krishna incarnation was to destroy the evil King Kans of Mathura. Kans was the uncle of Lord Krishna. He put his own sister into prison after the Deva Rishi Naradís prophecy that the eighth son of Devaki (Kansís sister).

Kans killed all the children of devaki. But could not kill the 7th and 8th children. The eighth child Krishna was born in midnight and Devakiís husband, Vasudeva, miraculously takes the child to Yashoda ,in Gokul. Itís considered very auspicious day and people fast during this period. This fast is broken in the midnight. Lord Krishna later on kills Kans and becomes King of Mathura. He also had important role in Mahabhratha(In fact the mythology of Krishna is a part of Mahabharat). Other festivals in Goa are mainly Feasts like St Antonyís day and Id by muslims. The most typical thing about Goa is that all festivals are celebrated by everyone participating in their own way. Unlike many Indian states where the hindu culture dominates the festivities, Goa is place where a small western culture is embraced with vigor and enthusiasm.

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Article by: Macks Maliyakal
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