Goa Carnaval 2013 is almost here! The 4 days of fun, frolic and, feast is set to open on February 9 and will last until February 12. But for foodies and cultural buffs, celebrations begin a day earlier. Food & Cultural Festival, to be held parallelly with the Carnaval (Portuguese for carnival), is slated to be from February 8.
Goa is known mostly for its beaches. All these years, tourism as well as all celebrations happened in and around beaches. But this time, there is going to be a conscious effort by the department of tourism to remove the focus from the beaches and pique people’s interest in other attractions of the state: the Sahyadris, temples, churches, and even adventure tourism. So this year, the government is going to position Goa Carnaval as a cultural and heritage festival. This is what Mr Dilip Parulekar, Minister of Tourism, and Mr Nikhil Desai, MD, Goa Tourism Development Corporation, shared during the press conference held on January 25 in Mumbai. A very welcome change indeed!
The legendary King Momo is believed to have started the carnival. So there is King Momo contest for pot-bellied men with a good sense of humour! Get selected and rule Goa for 4 days or be part of the royal entourage.
In the Food & Cultural Festival at NIWS Grounds, Caranzalem, Panaji, you will be able to taste all Goan delicacies for sure, but be ready to pamper your taste buds with food from other states as well. According to Mr Desai, Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir have confirmed their participation, and a few other states were also invited. Spicing up the food fest will be live music performances, fashion shows, and other entertainment. For culinary experts, there is cooking competition as well. For details, e-mail at email@example.com.
A major attraction of the Carnaval is going to be floats. King Momo gets a float, of course. Celebrities such as Neha Dhupia, Tanushree Dutta, Isha Koppikar, Sayali Bhagat, and others get another. And there will be several more with varying themes and messages. This is your chance to wear the craziest costume and dance away to glory! Float parade will be held at Panaji, Margao, Vasco, and Mapusa each on the four days. Apart from the colourful floats, the grand opening ceremony at Dayanand Bandodkar Marg, Panaji, at 4 p.m. on February 8, will also have a rally of Harley-Davidson bikes.
Music concerts at Colva and Baga by Remo, Parikrama, Lorna, Sonia Sirsat, Agnee, and several local bands are going to be crowd-pullers. Brilliant fireworks will add further colour to the already colourful event.
Dating back to almost 500 years, Goa Carnival started as a festival to enjoy to the hilt before the 40-day lent that precedes Easter, during which people abstain from rich food and merriment. Though it has a religious origin, the carnival now attracts people from across the world. With the recent efforts by the government, it will likely grow to be at par with the likes of Rio Carnival, Brazil. Plus, the government plans to popularise other unique festivals of Goa too.
See more details on the Carnaval here.
(Images from previous carnivals. Courtesy: www.goa-tourism.com)