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The ongoing Shigmo festival is Goa's answer to Holi

It is the sunny state’s spring showcase to Goan ethnicity and mythology

Shigmo in Goa is essentially a festival of the masses, though it is celebrated under different names and in different ways in various parts of India.

Where knowledge and worship meet
Where knowledge and worship meet

It is the festival of farewell to winter celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Phalguna (March), the last month of the Hindu calendar. Dilip Parulekar, Minister for Tourism, Govt. of Goa, said, “Our focus is to preserve and promote rich Goan art and culture and showcase it to the world."

Sugreeve Sena
Sugreeve Sena

In Goa, the land of temples, Shigmo begins with Naman or collective obeisance of villagers from the ninth moon day to full-moon day. During these days, they are to abstain from non-vegetarian food and all intoxicants.

Where stories come alive and are caught on camera
Where stories come alive and are caught on camera

Traditional Shigmotsav elements like Taranga, Ghudis, Lalkhi are placed at various locations including Porvorim junction, Divja circle below Mandovi Bridge, Kadamba circle, near Panaji bus stand, Caculo Island circle, Church Square circle, Vinanti Restaurant circle.

Ghofe Dance is a Goan cultural dance celebration
Ghofe Dance is a Goan cultural dance celebration

Says a former Goa resident, “Shigmotsav has become bigger in recent times, more so when everything possible is milked for tourism potential.

A burst of shouting colour marks all the pomp and pageantry
A burst of shouting colour marks all the pomp and pageantry

Originally, it was more a folk festival, heralding the arrival of spring, so the emphasis was on local village dances and floats would show off samples of crops (such as sheaves of rice paddy). Where Carnival was the ‘Western’ festival, associated with Christianity, Shigmotsav (or just Shigmo as it is called) was like a desi answer to it.

Ghode Modani is the way Shigmo is celebrated in villages
Ghode Modani is the way Shigmo is celebrated in villages

Of course, religious lines are not so clearly drawn in Goa (except when politicised and whipped up for mileage), so there were often floats which were common to the Carnival and Shigmo parades. Today, we see it has become a big affair and very commercialised.”

Typical parade of floats
Typical parade of floats

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