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Viva La Carnival

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The carnival of Goa is the most famous festival in the state 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. The float parades are organised in association with the State Tourism Department.

Although the three-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 nights 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 40 days of Lent. Huge parades are organised throughout the state with bands, dances and float out all night on the streets, and grand balls held in the evenings.

Goa is a small state located in the extreme western end towards the southern coast of India right below Maharashtra. It is safe to say that Goa is one of the most sought-after and a popular getaway for people all across the globe. It offers a unique vibe mixed with tradition, culture, cuisine, and the fun of being a continental state. One can go on and on about Goa and not stop without wondering how can a place give a different experience on every visit and stay. Goa is one of the topmost vacation places for Indians and tourists from all over the world and surprisingly, it has a vast history.

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 a regular feature every year and a time when people all over Goa take part in it with pleasure.

Carnival means a complete holiday dedicated to fun and enjoying as a break from the daily routine and stress of the every-day life. The word ‘carnival’ is originated from a Latin word ‘carnelevarium’ meaning ‘removing the flesh’ or ‘raising a gala storm’.

Since Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent) falls on March 6 this year, the carnival will be celebrated from March 2 to March 5 — for four days.

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)
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