Goa was under the rule of the Portuguese for over 450 years. During this period, there were several changes, restrictions, bans imposed by the colonists on the people and the state. However, a village in the interiors of Goa narrates an interesting tale of how they managed to trick the colonial government into celebrating a festival.
Sounds interesting? Well, this is about a village of Dongrim.
Origin of Intruz
Dongrim celebrates a five-day long Intruz festival. It is one of the folk festivals that is gaining popularity today. Earlier, it was the locals who would come together to celebrate it. However, in recent times, several people from different parts come to witness this folk festival.
In the 16th century, when the Portuguese annexed the village of Dongrim, they imposed several restrictions, and banned the Hindus from celebrating their festivals and religious ceremonies. One of the popular festivals that the Hindus used to celebrate was Shigmo, which was banned by the Portuguese.
Wanting to celebrate the Shigmo festival, the locals of Dongrim decided to take permission from the Portuguese authorities to celebrate Intruz. The Portuguese granted permission to celebrate Intruz, thinking it was a Christian celebration like Carnival. However, the Hindus ended up celebrating shigmo in the garb of Intruz.
Till date, the villagers celebrate this five-day Intruz in a traditional manner. During these festive days there are several interesting customs and traditions that are followed. Both Hindus and Christians, in Goa, take part in the celebrations.
Intruz, takes place during the eleventh month of the Hindu calendar – Magh. Vinayak Vishnu Khedekar in his book ‘Goa Land, Life and Legacy’ mentions that during ‘Sunwari’ one can find five vados (wards) of Dongrim forming a troupe called Mel, and converge at one point. They carry umbrellas, and singing songs, head towards the temple of Sati Shantadruga to seek blessings.
Anyone wanting to experience the traditional folk music of Goa; should make a point to attend ‘Sunwari’, where they can witness a glimpse of folk music. Traditional musical instruments like ghumat, shamel, kansalem and dom (drum) are played during this celebration. The whole setup is done in its original setting, and it was quite a spectacular sight; something one should not miss.
Following days there is a procession of the palanquin that takes place. On Tuesday (February 22, 2022), this year, one can see romtamel – procession with dhol and tasso (musical instruments).
On Wednesday (February 23, 2022), one can find villagers going around smearing gulal, or colour, on each other.
During this five-day celebration, one can see dance, drama, music, art come to the fore in this village. The originality of the festival is still maintained and celebrated with great faith and fervour.
On the last day, all the villagers come together and recite a common prayer on behalf of the entire village to the deity; this also marks the end of the festival.
If this got you interested in experiencing traditional folk art forms of Goa, head to Dongrim, Mandur.
A trail, for Intruz, is being conducted by Soul Travelling:
Date: February 22, 2022
Time: 3.30 pm