If there is any time that Panjim gets into maximum celebratory mode, it is during Carnival! On Saturday, February 10, as Goa sweltered in the usual heat and humidity, the Carnival revelry also raised the decibels and heat on the Mandovi promenade a notch higher.
Goa and its citizens descended on the streets in large numbers to witness the second day of the Carnival festivities in the capital city.
The Carnival parade had its fair share of glitz, glamour and social messages that raised awareness and depicted the State's culture and traditions.
The moment Clive Anthony Gracias, who is King Momo 2024, read his Merriment Decree for the next four days, the Panjim Carnival entered frenzy mode a little after 4.30 pm, with the crowds moving in no particular order, because the only rule this Carnival is to have an unlimited dose of fun.
Notwithstanding the heat, tourists were seen super excited to be part of the event, happily clicking away selfies and photos with the Carnival parade participants and striking several poses in front of the floats.
Some even joined the parade dancers and grooved to the beats that were blaring on the speakers.
But, calling the Carnival a smooth event would be a lie as the organisational glitches of the Panjim Carnival Committee showed like every year.
Right from the traffic jams and dust pollution to the pathetic conditions of the roads, it is only the dedication of the people and their love for the festival that got them to leave their houses and attend the parade even under such circumstances.
Much before King Momo could read his merriment decree, the Braganza Brass Band, having members from both Merces and Santa Cruz, belted out several Goan tunes, even as people were pouring into the stands set up for VIPs and people near the Adil Shah Palace.
King Momo's entourage was followed by a disciplined Indian Navy float that had young naval cadets marching amidst the chaos near the VIP stand.
The police were seen asking people to make way for the float that brought in national fervour to the event.
According to figures shared by the organisers, this year, there were nine traditional floats, 17 club and institutions, six in awareness category and six in family category.
There was one sponsored float and one from the Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP).
The fun junk car category had seven participants with their modified cars and the clown/joker category had solid competition with 16 participants who caught everyone's attention.
Like every year floats depicted Goa's ground reality much to the chagrin of the powers that be who were seated on the VIP stand. Roadside garbage, ocean pollution, road deaths, save turtles and save trees were some of the depictions seen at the parade. As for the impact that they have made, only time and the stories on the news will tell.
Among the cultural floats, Quepem's Amche Daiz showcased many fading traditions of Goa and one among them was the Adlim Kazaram (weddings of the past), depicting how the State is losing its Goan identity.
A Portuguese dance troupe won many hearts on the parade route. Its members who wore their nation's colours sang and danced and happily posed for photos. Troupe member Mariana was super excited to be in Goa participating in the Carnival. “It is my second visit to Goa,” she smiled.
As the float parade slowly came to an end, people were seen slowly filtering into the Jardim Garcia de Orta which has been transformed, or rather renamed, to Samba Square for the next three days.
The Samba Square fun begins today, February 10, and will culminate with the Red and Black dance on February 13, 2024, which is the last day of the Goa Carnival.