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The Grand Goa Festival 2018

The tiny coastal state of Goa, which is synonymous with fun, music, food, entertainment and merry- making, is without doubt the only place in India that breaks away from the general image of the country as a conservative nation.

Just before the austere Lent period in February-March, carnival fever grips this tropical paradise which turns into a party zone for three days. The entire state, decked up with vibrant festoons, dazzling lights, and colorful floral decorations, comes alive with colours, lively processions, floats, the strumming of guitars, graceful dances and non-stop festivity providing healthy entertainment for the young and old alike.

As the mantra of riotous revelry and gaiety reigns supreme, Goa enters a different zone with carnival scenes seeming straight out of a fairy tale-jovial people with painted faces and colourful, designer masks, fireworks, fortune tellers, acrobats, clowns, dancers, singers and musicians. Food and drinks are in plenty as uproarious and flamboyant celebrations erupt everywhere. Innumerable stalls of liquor, food, handicraft, designer beach-wear, fashionable attires and junk jewelry, open up at various nooks and corners.

After the Christmas festivities come to an end, Goans eagerly look forward to the fun and frolic of the Carnival to break free from their regular mundane schedules, unwind and party to their heart's content. The Grand Goan carnival will be held from 10th to 13th February 2018.

The carnival is a wonderfully festive manifestation of the gregarious nature and spirit which characterizes the Goan community and epitomizes their fun-loving culture. Though celebrated for only three days, the preparations begin right from December and build up to a frenetic pitch by the eve of the carnival.

Huge colourful parades, lively processions, foot-tapping music, exotic dance performances, grand balls and parties are some of the main elements of the carnival. The final day's festivities are the grandest and conclude with the famous red-and-black dance performed by the Clube Nacional in Panjim.

The carnival is meant to be a feasting-drinking-merry-making orgy just before the austere 40- day abstinence period of Lent. Traditionally during Lent there are no parties or other celebrations and people abstain themselves from rich foods such as meat, dairy products, fats, etc. The 40 days of Lent, recalls the biblical account of the 40 days Lord Jesus spent in the wilderness. The carnival ends on Shrove Tuesday (Fat Tuesday)-the eve of Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent. Though originally celebrated by the large Christian population of Goa, it has over the years transcended boundaries and has become a cultural celebration attracting tourists from all over the world.

Carnival and Goa go back a long time and is a legacy left behind by the Portuguese who ruled Goa for over 400 years till 196. The erstwhile rulers introduced it as a rustic, rowdy celebration in which flour, eggs, oranges, lemons, mud, sand-filled gloves along with dirty water, various liquids and glue were aimed at passersby. Used pots, pans, and other kitchen utensils were also thrown out of windows.

The festivities have evolved over time and today the main attractions are the beautifully decorated and vibrant float parades. Noble themes are blended with the comic, weird and bizarre. There are different categories of floats — from the traditional to the funky — with attractive prizes for each category.

Though many rituals have been dropped and many modified, the carnival even today retains the essence of the past. For instance, in the fun-filled ambience of today, people throw colour on each other instead of eggs and lemons of yore.

A king of chaos called "Momo" is selected at the start of the carnival and he presides over the three day festivity. The float carrying "King Momo's" entourage leads the float parade, which includes ornately decorated floats depicting Goan life and world events. Masked revelers dancing to live band music are among the highlights of this fascinating jamboree as the captivated onlookers respond with shouts of "Viva carnival". The parade winds its way through the streets and comes to an end as "King Momo" reads aloud his decree — a joyous proclamation exhorting his subjects to enjoy three days of merrymaking.

The participants wear elaborate costumes and designer masks. Locals and tourists throng the street to watch the procession go by or follow it, synching steps with the dancers making the atmosphere jazzy. Girls flaunt frills and boys their cowboy hats.

Huge masquerades are organized with live performances of bands and dances all night long on the streets of the state capital. Grand balls are held in the evenings. Food festivals, fashion shows, vintage car rallies and various cultural shows abound during the carnival. King "Momo" gives away prizes to the winners.

The one thing that never stops during the three day extravaganza is the music. People wake up in the morning to the ringing of cymbals and euphony of bagpipes. Music swings into Goa Carnival quite naturally and the myriad facets of the Goan music compel onlookers to jig with it. The stylish Spanish guitar, the casual drum beats and the soulful voice are enough to make you move your feet. The typical guitar music with its enticing rhythm and harmony, heard all over Goa, is part of the rich musical heritage adopted from Portugal.

To top it off the carnival includes non -stop feasting with good food being the second love of Goans. Lip-smacking sea food, meat, cakes, pastries and local feni are available in plenty.

Goa, with its sun-kissed beaches, is a perennial holiday destination, but if you really want to see the state's energy in its entirety, this funky festival is the best time to visit. Tourists can make the most of being in the party capital of the country and explore the nightlife and casinos as many casinos offer carnival packages and discounts. Goa is easily accessible by road, rail and air.

Tappas Voyages have a dedicated team of professionals who specialize in creating itineraries that are designing keeping in mind these one time in a year festivals, hence, please contact our travel advisors for a specially designed trip to Goa to soak all the colors, culture, fun, frolic of the state along with sun, sea and sand.