There is buzz and excitement in the air. After a two-year hiatus, the environment is conducive for celebrating World Goa Day 2022 (WGD) and Goans residing in India and abroad are living no stone unturned in making the weekend worth remembering.
Since its inception, WGD celebrations across the globe have only grown in countries like the UK, Australia, Canada, United States, Kenya, Tanzania, Middle East and Portugal, to name a few.
WGD has now attained status as a signature event worldwide and appears in the calendar of events of every major Goan association worldwide.
The celebrations, to be held largely on August 20 and 21, will be about making up for the last two years when the excitement had to be buried or suppressed because of the Covid pandemic.
WGD was introduced to commemorate the anniversary of the inclusion of Konkani in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution by the Indian Parliament on August 20, 1992. On this day, Konkani was accorded status as one of the official languages of India.
The main objective of WGD is to uphold the legacy of the Konkani language, heritage and culture for future generations. The idea of WGD was initiated by Rene Barreto (UK), who is credited with bringing Goans on the same page for this worldwide get-together in different places across the globe.
Mumbai-based Maria Gomes Fernandes, who is part of the WGD main coordinating team, says it is time to celebrate Goemkarponn and the traditions associated with it in full measure. Our food, music and dances set us apart from the rest, she adds.
The Goan Institute, Dabul, Mumbai, where a large number of Goans reside, is celebrating WGD for the very first time and the excitement there is equally high. Preparations are going on in full swing with those taking part in folk dance and Mando coming in for daily practice at the institute.
The institute is organising numerous programmes to entertain people of all ages by ensuring that those participating too are also from different age groups.
Besides showcasing culture, the other aspect of the institute's first WGD, the entry for which is free, is hosting a Goan food festival where dishes like sorpotel, pork roast, pav and fish will be available giving those visiting the event an idea of the State's delectable and rich culinary fare.
Across the world in Canada, the Quebec Goans Association (QGA) is excited about welcoming its community members to the beautiful Cap-Saint-Jacques Nature Park and beach on August 20. There will be plenty of games and a Konkani quiz. Since this is a Potluck/Barbeque Picnic, the association is expecting countless delectable dishes on the celebration table.
Informs QGA President Blanche Da Costa, "This being the 45th anniversary of the QGA, we will be honouring some members of our community who have been ambassadors of Goan culture and have carved a niched in the business and creative world."
Meanwhile, the Californian Goans celebrated WGD on August 8, much in advance. The Goan community members came together at their traditional World Goa Day Picnic which they have been organising over the last few years.
This year, the response was tremendous. At the picnic, the members prepared Goan traditional sweets and participated in traditional dances.
Elsewhere in the world, celebrations are planned in Swindon (UK) and Australia (by Goan Overseas Association of Victoria).
Gerard Lobo, an Australian Goan, is proud of his Goemkarponn, which, he says, is embedded in the DNA of Goans via their culture. "We are people that love to socialise. Though we have moved out of our homeland, we ensure that every occasion has a pot of sorpotel right in the middle of the buffet table," he adds.
Lobo emphasises that Goan youth who are living abroad should come to Goa and connect with their roots. The parents should also tell their children that they come from a land which is culturally very rich, he states.
Scientifically, culture and language are inextricably linked and both are like a binding glue for Goans living out of Goa -- and what better day than WGD to carry the legacy of Goanness forward.