The Goa Carnival 2010 held from February 13 to 16 at Panaji, Margao, Vasco and Mapusa respectively was a fun filled festival that bought the state to life due to the multi-cultural essence. Thousands thronged the beautiful state as the streets burst into a riot of colour with creativity at its best.
Carnival in Goa is one of the eagerly awaited events that is held annually for four days before Ash Wednesday, the day of fasting that marks the beginning of Lent. There are many interpretations of the word carnival but what remains undisputed is that Carnival came and remained in the state due to the Portuguese and it typifies the characteristically Goan, fun-loving culture.
This year the event received an overwhelming response with the streets filled with spectators on either sides of the parade route. Many tourists, including large number of Russians also formed part of the crowd as well as participants. A liberal sprinkling of foreign and local tourists watched the fascinating spectacle unfold as King Momo, the king of chaos, declared the three days of fun and frolic.
The opening day for the carnival parade was hosted by Panaji and was flagged off by the Chief Minister, Mr Digambar Kamat and the Minister for Tourism, Mr Francisco Xavier Pacheco. With almost 95 big and small tableaux opting for topics that were associated with environmental and ecological protection, in different ways, the event was considered to be a green affair.
The parade commenced with a float depicting a "Gorilla Wedding" with gorillas enjoying a marriage reception. Another float that captured the crowd's hearts was a group of children dressed up as Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson etc. Foreign participants also enlightened the crowds with a group of them dressed as Roman warriors, Vampires and Gauls.
The traditional floats that stood out included the Colva float depicting a ferry, with the village baker (poder) struggling to get into an overcrowded boat. Another float depicted a village feast with a fair outside the parish church that included stall owners selling traditional sweets (kaddio boddio), gram and Goan sausages.
A float from St Estevam called Goenche Xetkamti stood out for the exuberance displayed by the island villagers, while a float by the villagers of Mardol on flowers titled Fullam ani Fullamkaram was also well received. The villagers of Chinchinim gave the crowds a glimpse of Goa's Shigmo festival with a float showcasing the folk dances of Goa like romat-mell and ghode moddni.
The Margao Carnival float parade saw a liberal sprinkling of foreign and local tourists and even a float from Scandinavia. In all around 80 floats like Makdachem Kazar and Goenche Chamar or Goan shoemakers divided into various categories like clubs, families, junk cars, clowns and sponsored category kept the crowd entertained all along the route that wound its way from the Holy Spirit junction through Margao in front of the collectorate and in front of the stage next to the municipality and out.
The grand Carnival float parade in the port town of Vasco attracted celebrities like Isha Koppikar, Aditya Pancholi, Hindi playback singer, Abhijit Bhattacharya, Little Champ singers, Hemant, Yatharth, Shreyashi, Swarit and Goa's singing sensation, Akshada Bandekar, besides Mumbai based businessmen, Mr Navin Shetty and Mahesh Manjrekar.
The three-day Carnival festivities came to an end on Tuesday evening in Mapusa with the grand float parade. Around 61 floats participated in the parade at Mapusa. Thousands of people from this part of the state thronged the streets of Mapusa to witness the float parade that made its way through the streets of the town before winding up near the Bodgeshwar ground. As the festival is considered a major tourist attraction it saw the participation of a large number of tourists who said that they thoroughly enjoyed it.