Here's a 'fest' dedicated to the mangoes of Goa

Time was when Goa had seventy varieties of mangoes. That figure has dwindled to forty or less. The upcoming ‘Ambeachem Fest’ will focus on everything connected with the mangoes of Goa…
Here's a 'fest' dedicated to the mangoes of Goa
There was a time when Goa had seventy types of mangoes, a number which has decreased drasticallyGomantak Times

Marius Fernandes, who started the concept of theme-based festivals, or fests, that brought all communities together to celebrate and revive the heritage of Goa, is back with its 50th festival, or fest. The main feature of such festivals is that they are sans sponsors, chief guests, competition, prizes and no alcohol is served.

On May 8, 2022, from 11 am onwards, there will be a unique ‘Ambeachem Fest’ (Mango Festival) at Montfort Academy, Corlim, Tiswadi. “This festival is a celebration of culture, knowledge and economic and holistic empowerment and development of communities by the people, including the youth of Goa. The festival will ensure accessibility so that all can attend the festival, and a larger cause of inclusion of society is achieved,” says Marius Fernandes.

WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT

At the festival, one will get a chance to learn about mangoes, the tree, etc. The main aim of this festival is to focus on local varieties of mangoes, which are now on the decline. At one point in time, Goa used to boast 70 varieties of mangoes; now there are around 40 or even less. Marius believes that the younger generation should learn more about grafting, and come up with new varieties of mangoes.

So, on Sunday, May 8, 2022 at the ‘Bolcaocho Gozzali’ event, agriculture expert, Miguel Braganza, will speak about care and conservation of the tree, including the removal of weeds from the tree at regular intervals. This will be followed by a mango tree walk with Dr Maryanne Lobo. She will highlight the medicinal properties of the tree, especially its leaves (as they have disinfectant properties) and also the importance of wild varieties of mangoes, locally known as ghottam.

Marius Fernandes, started the concept of theme-based festivals, or fests
Marius Fernandes, started the concept of theme-based festivals, or festsGomantak Times

At the event, ICAR, Ela, Old Goa will display mango saplings and a variety of mangoes. Also, scientist, SunetraTalualikar, will demonstrate several dishes of sweets and drinks made of mangoes at the festival. There will be a mango grafting session by Priyanka Naik.

A variety of mangoes, mango products and mango grafts will be on sale. Local, home-cooked, Goan food, predominantly mango-based, will be available.

Along with mango-based activities, the Fest will highlight the musical aspect of Goa. Marius informs that they are also launching Goa Girls Ghumot Group (GGGG) to revive ghumot music and also to give a platform to young, female musicians.

FEST SCHEDULE

The festival starts with the song Channaichem Rati, with ghumot and kottieo (coconut shell) accompanying the song, followed by a Kottieo dance, a session on football skills, with veteran coaches like Fabian D’Souza and Augustine Dias of the Goa United Football Academy.

Another session involves saxophone player, Austin Fernandes and Arturo D’Souza. There will be a performance of Konkani songs by a persons with a disability, Audrey Pereira (from Tivim) and Saish Gauthankar (NAB).This initiative is to promote the concept of inclusivity, and making festivals accessible to everyone.

‘Balcaocho Gozzali’ will continue with writer and performer, Baba Prasad, and senior journalist Prakash Kamat. This will be followed by a group dance by the former’s troupe.

Pranil Karanjalkar, a professional ghumot player, and his group will present a skit and musical performance.

Other activities at the fest will include caricature and ‘fun shop’ by well-known cartoonist Alyexyz, molla-making, rotesao, flower garland of abolim, etc.

The festival ends post lunch with a special programme called ‘Ghumtacho nazz’. It will be led by Dr Glenis Mendonca and percussionist Inacio Madeira.

There will also be Mango dishes such as Mango Thali, Goenchem Jevonn, Ukdem Xitt, Mango Prawn Curry with Ladyfingers, Kotkottem and mango pickle.

Marius adds that, in the coming days, more fests will be held:

  • May 14, 2022 (10 am to 9 pm): Mango Fest @ Caculo Mall, Panjim

  • May 22, 2022 (11 am to 3 pm): Ostoreachem Fest (Women’s Festival) @ Dhakanem, Madkai, Ponda

  • May 28 & 29, 2022: Purumentachem Fest @ Caculo Mall, Panjim

  • June 24, 2022: PonsachemFest (Jackfruit Festival) @ Old Goa, Ilhas

  • September 24, 2022 (11 am to 3 pm): Avoyanchem Fest (Mother’s Festival) @ St Mathias, Divar, Ilhas

There was a time when Goa had seventy types of mangoes, a number which has decreased drastically
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