Goa Carnival also called ‘Carnaval’, ‘Intruz’or ‘Entrado’ is the largest carnival in India and the only one that happens in Asia. It is a festival that has been celebrated since the Portuguese introduced it in the 18th century.
The Carnival usually starts on Fat Saturday and concludes on Fat Tuesday, just before Ash Wednesday and the first day of the Catholic season of Lent. Despite falling into obscurity during the latter days of the Portuguese colonial rule of Goa, the Goa Carnival was resurrected as a minor street celebration in 1965 and has since turned into as major tourist attraction for the small state.
The carnival begins in the evening with a massive parade led by King Momo surrounded by dancers, bands of musicians, vendors, women and older men in comical clothes. King Momo traditionally proclaims the Konkani message, “Kha, piye, aani majja kar” (English: “Eat, drink and make merry”). Dancers, fire-eaters, acrobats, clowns, brass bands, jesters and others follow the king during the procession down the main street of Panaji, Mapusa, Margao, and Vasco. Balloons are bobbed up in the air trailed in colourful ribbons to initiate the procession. Masked parades and short plays exhibiting Goan culture are performed by the locals. While the whistle of the mestri act as a curtain-raiser to the play, the rustic drums called dolkas help in the narration of the same.
Gaudy costumes and electrifying music add more fun to the entire festivities. Khell or Fell, the famous one-act folk play where vibrant colours are used is performed by singers walking around accompanied by local musical instruments. The carnival ends with the popular colour-coordinated dance with the men and women dressed in red and black.
Goa forgets to sleep during the carnival time. Most of the streets are decorated with attractive lighting and grand balls. Millions of visitors from all around the globe arrive in the tiny emerald of Goa to attend the Goa Carnival and also to indulge in the grand revelry. This festival attracts people from different beliefs and walks of life and thus, the mirth and exuberance of unity remains the greatest takeaway of the entire Carnival!!!
This year the Goa Carnival 2020 will begin on Saturday, 22 February and ends on Tuesday, 25 February. So books your tickets now!