A Curious Concoction of Cultures March 2021
A myriad of cultural influences is interwoven into the fabric of Goa. As a result, the Goan way of life involves accepting and understanding traits that are not native to their culture. This is what has always made Goa a unique place; and it is this distinctive character that makes it particularly exciting to explore.
Having been a Portuguese colony for about 450 years, European traditions, cultures and practices percolated through many layers of the Goan heritage. The foreign influences led people to understand new ideas and find ways to adapt them into their own existing traditions. This influence culminated into new styles of architecture, cuisines and even festivals. Besides the acclaimed architecture and diversity in food, Goa also has some very interesting festivals.
Sao Joao – The celebration of this festival signifies how exhilarated John the Baptist felt at the news of Jesus's birth. The festivities are unique to Goa and people make sure they don't miss out on all the fun. People are known to wear Kopels (crowns made out of flowers) and they often jump into ponds, streams and wells as a part of the celebrations.
Shigmo/ Holi – Different villages and communities celebrate Holi on different days and as a result the celebrations involve 12 colourful days of music and festivities. However, during the course of these 12 days, you have to watch out because you might get hit with some colour at anytime, anywhere!
Narkasur – Celebrated on the eve of Diwali, this event involves the burning of a huge effigy of the demon Narkasur. The festivities are also characterised by processions with music and dancing and inter-village competitions to determine the best looking Narkasur; all of whom are made in different shapes, sizes and colours.
What makes Goa unique is that its history is not buried in its past, rather it lives in all that you see. As it observes its slowly changing circumstances it evolves into new concepts, traditions and an understanding that makes it easy to be, easy to feel free and always ready to grow.