The morning of Saturday, February 18, 2023, felt different in Goa. Although the tiredness of the Carnival in Porvorim that took place just yesterday had still not worn off, the unexplained energy that the people of Goa felt was something that not even a can or two of Red Bull could deliver.
It was a familiar yearning – the streets of Panjim were calling!
The Panjim Carnival finally took off with all pomp and grandeur, with the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant saying a few opening words, a few minutes later a helicopter surprised everyone when it showered marigold petals on the crowd making it look like a very special occasion.
King Momo, Russel D’Souza, then read the merry-making decree and the rest is history. The floats, the people, the music and the dancing – it was Viva Carnival all the way till the end!
King Momo's decree set the pace for the celebrations and soon after floats -- traditional and commercial -- took over the D B Marg. There were floats creating awareness and some shared insights into issues like diabetes, organ donation and turtle nesting.
One poster that was pasted on a colourful car read, ‘The devil lives in a bottle. Don’t let cheers turn into tears’, highlighting the fatal accidents that have marred Goa in the last few months.
There were floats like the traditional Goan ‘poder’, frogs, weddings and more that entertained the crowd. The most entertaining of them all, the independent candidates, walked the streets as characters like ‘Groot’ from the Marvel series, a Goan bride, Avatar, and men drenched in silver paint from head to toe!
A FESTIVAL THAT UNITES
Carnival is more than just a festival because it is a force that unites everyone. The word ‘Carnival’ comes from the Latin word, ‘Carnelevare.’ which means ‘to remove meat’.
The festival was originally held before the Catholic season on Lent and involved feasting, drinking and merrymaking to make sure that all the meat in the household was consumed before the season of Lent started.
This was because according to the Lenten tradition, Catholics are supposed to abstain from eating meat during Lent.
MORE TO COME
Now, after Panjim, the celebrations will move to Margao, the commercial capital, on Sunday, February 19. On February 20, the fun will move to Vasco and then to Mapusa on February 21.
Besides these big celebrations, places like Morjim, Curtorim and Quepem are organising Carnival on a smaller scale.