Viva La Carnival

Monday 17th February 2020 06:36 EST

The carnival in the state of Goa is the most famous festival and has been celebrated since the 18th century AD as a precursor to the abstinence of Lent. The carnival is exclusive and unique to Goa, and was introduced by the Portuguese who ruled the State for over five hundred years. Huge colourful parades take over the state's cities with bands, floats and dances.

Although, the four-day festival is primarily celebrated by Catholics, it has also absorbed Hindu tradition revelry, western dance forms, and turned into a pageantry of sorts. Though it started as a celebration enjoyed only by the local population, it has today crossed the state frontiers and attracts thousands of people from all over the country as well as from other parts of the world.

The carnival is held in February/March for four days and four nights (depending on when Lent starts) when the legendary king Momo takes over the state and the streets come alive with music and colour. The carnival is meant to be a feasting-drinking-merrymaking orgy just before the austere 46 days of Lent. Huge parades are organized throughout the state with bands, dances and floats out all night on the streets, and grand balls held in the evenings. 

The history of the Goan carnival goes back to almost 500 years. It was essentially introduced in Goa by the Portuguese. The trend of celebrating the carnival with hedonistic pleasures dates back to ancient Rome and Greece. It came to be known to the Portuguese and Spanish people with time and when the Portuguese established their colony in Goa, they introduced the concept there. Since then, the carnival is regular feature every year and a time when people all over Goa take part in it with pleasure.

The word 'carnival' is originated from the Latin word 'carnelevarium' meaning 'removing the flesh' or 'raising a gala storm'.

Jubel D’Cruz,

Mumbai, India

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