‘Goa, Daman and Diu Fest’ in the UK is Festakar’s latest event
By Nina M
Goa has been fertile ground to sow the seeds for the unique grassroots ‘People's Fests’. Thanks to the efforts by the festakar, Marius Fernandes, Goa has seen a revival of many of our Goan traditions at the Poderachem Fest, Ghumtachem Fest, and others.
After 75 of his zero-waste, inclusive, heritage themed fests in Goa, he begins a new innings at Leicester, in the UK. Belgrave Gate, a suburb of the city with a sizeable Asian community, will witness the first-ever ‘Goa, Daman, and Diu Fest’ on July 30, 2023.
It provides a unique opportunity for the three communities to come together outside the subcontinent and showcase their vibrant traditions. The event aims to foster a sense of camaraderie, celebrate shared roots, and highlight the contributions of these communities to the diverse cultural tapestry of Leicester.
ABOUT THE FEST
Sharing the news (on the phone) from his home in Leicester, Marius, the festival curator, said, “This event holds great historical and cultural significance. It’s an opportunity for the Goan, Daman and Diu communities to come together and showcase their heritage while fostering connections with the larger community of Leicester and hoping for a day of celebration, unity and cultural exchange.”
Since 2023 celebrates the ‘International Year of Millets’, Marius will showcase seven varieties of millets (foxtail, barnyard, little millet, proso, kodo, brown top and finger millet) gifted by Dean of the Goa College of Agriculture, Old Goa, Suresh Kunkalikar.
The festival organizers believe in promoting healthy living, while celebrating cultural heritage. That’s not all. Marius has been working to move the seeds from Goa to Uganda.
Says Marius, “We are also expecting Dhiru Shah Charity Fund raiser extraordinaire, currently involved in a campaign, to support Uganda across a range of needs. I’m planning to support Dhiru to take millet seeds to Uganda to encourage growing healthy nutritional food in the future.”
The event highlights various talks with prominent leaders from the Leicester community. Steve White MBE, coordinator of the festival, will engage in a compelling conversation with a residents of Daman, delving into their present status and experiences of settling in the city.
Likewise, George Goodchild, who has been visiting Goa since 1975, will share a conversation with a resident of Diu to explore their status and experiences in Leicester. Marius' sister, Fatima Fernandes, will speak to George Goodchild about his numerous trips to Goa.
White highlights another segment at the festival. He says, “I am thrilled to inform you that Stella Salta, who is a Haematologist Consultant with the University Hospitals Leicester Trust will be joining us on Sunday at the festival that Marius and I are hosting in Leicester. This will be a marvellous opportunity for Leicester to link with Goa regarding haemophilia, and engage with families that Marius has met at festivals in Goa.”
Manjula Sood MBE, the first Asian lady mayor in the UK and the present Assistant Mayor of Leicester, will grace the event as a special invitee. Manjit Singh, holder of numerous Guinness records, will be in attendance.
Adding to the festivities, the Goa, Daman, and Diu Fest will feature captivating Konkani music and serve an array of delectable traditional dishes, allowing everyone to savour the flavours of these regions.
It is hoped that the event will firmly put Leicester on the cultural map of the subcontinent. Coordinator of the fest, Steve White, MBE adds, “Typically, Marius has arrived back in Leicester full of ideas and enthusiasm. Bringing the Daman, Diu and Goa communities together in celebration is ideal timing for Leicester at this moment in time.”