India is a land of festivals. Festivals are part of Indian life… Here people celebrate many types of festivals like regional, cultural and religious all through the year one after the other. Each and every corner of India, which ever small part it may be, people never miss to celebrate festivals which are in abundance. Especially people who follow Hinduism have lots of Hindu festivals. Their calendar is marked full with Hindu festivals. It is very difficult to find a month when there is no Hindu festival.
Goa is a beautiful tourist place of India. It is located 607 km from Mumbai. Tourists throng the place all through the year for its fantastic beaches, fun activities and the age old churches. It is a colorful place where you can find all types of people from all parts of the world. Since it is a land of mixed culture, there are various types of festivals getting celebrated in Goa all through the year. All the Hindu festivals such as Navratri, Shivratri, Ramnavami, Dasara, Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, etc., are celebrated in a much galore due to the number of Hindu residents.
Among the popular festivals that are celebrated to depict the Goa Hindu culture, the Music festival, Feast of Three Kings and the Feast of Our lady of Candelaria are organized by the State each year. The natives of this place celebrate the Shigmo festival in a grand manner as a part of Goa Hindu culture. It is celebrated in the month of Phalgun which is the starting of the spring season. This festival is a colorful one when people treat each other with color powders and color waters. Usually this festival will take place for a fortnight.
Shigmo festival, one of the Hindu festivals, begins just before the full moon day of the Falguni month. It ends exactly at the full moon day. It may fall around March and April also. In a deeper sense, the people of Goa celebrate two types of Shigmo. One is known as Dhakto Shigmo which is celebrated by the farmers and rural people while the other one, Vhadlo Shigmo is celebrated by all other people in general. Shigmo festival depicts the Goa Hindu culture.
This festival is to welcome the spring season. This is equivalent to the Holi festival which is popularly celebrated all through North India. Goa residents and all the tourists who visit the place participate in the Shigmo festival irrespective of their religion and culture. During the fortnight of this celebration, Goa people will not eat non-vegetarian food. This token of self-restriction is known as ‘Naman’ reflects the Goa Hindu culture.
From the first day itself, that is on the 11th moon day till the 15th moon day, people wear new clothes, decorate their homes and pillars called ‘Dwajas’ and arrange colorful flags and ribbons. The scene is a typical one of the Hindu festivals. All people gather in front of the temple or in the temple courtyard and indulge in various cultural activities. They will sing and dance the folk tales, enact the mythological stories and dance to the beat of the drums. Everyone will be playing with the color water.
The last day is the Shigmo festival is the main day of the attraction. There will be a huge parade depicting the Goa Hindu culture where each and every Goan will participate. A line of processions with people throwing red color powder and flowers, artists wearing the costumes of Hindu gods, goddesses and other important mythological characters, enacting small scenes from mythological events, masks, jewels, etc., are in the parade. This entire festival mood is catchy. Some people will just enjoy and choose to walk to the drum beats on the side of the procession. Some group of people will come dancing under the colorfully decorated umbrellas. This type of grand parade will be conducted in the last days.
Particularly on the very last day, there will a grand procession. It will have huge floats of complete figures of deities denoting the Goa Hindu culture. For all these pains and interest shown by the people, they are awarded prizes for the best and interesting floats. This is really an opportunity to demonstrate the talents of the local people and the artists to make some money. Apart from the earning, this is a great cultural revival of the past to the next generation.
Many foreign tourists visit Goa regularly at the same time of the year to enjoy the Shigmo festival. Students and research scholars, who are interested in the Hindu festivals and their cultural background, visit this festival to study in deep. Shigmo festival is an example of Goa Hindu culture which entertains the mind and the spirit simultaneously.
Dates for Shigmo Float Parade 2013
28/03/2013 – Ponda
29/03/2013 – Pernem
30/03/2013 – Panjim
31/03/2013 – Mapusa
01/04/2013 – Vasco
02/04/2013 – Bicholim
03/04/2013 – Sanquelim
04/04/2013 – Valpoi
05/04/2013 – Curchorem
06/04/2013 – Sanguem
07/04/2013 – Margao
08/04/2013 – Quepem
09/04/2013 – Cuncolim
10/04/2013 – Canacona