Thursday, April 3, 2008

One Goan version of Holi

With ceremonial thanksgiving, processions to temples and shrines, songs, dance and dramas, colours and sweets, Goa celebrated its version of Holi, the colour festival, known as 'Shigmo'.

Locals in this small town, about 58 kilometers from Panaji, celebrated the festival at temple complex of Hindu Lord Damodar, an incarnation of Lord Shiva.

'Shigmo', which means the onset of spring, is celebrated in the month of "Falgun" as per Saka Calendar. During this festival period the palanquin of the God is carried out in procession and people en route sprinkle bright hued 'gulal' on the idol. Those carrying the palki and devotees get covered with gulal. It is considered auspicious to get smeared with gulal on this occasion.

Shigmo is a social festival with a religious core. And of course, Shigmo is the folk festival of Goan Hindus in true spirit, which displays a variety of folk dances, music, theatre forms and more. It is the occasion during which one could also see the variety of arts and crafts of the village artisans through costumes, colourful floats based on mythological events, musical instruments, headgears, masks and jewellery.

"This is the most important function where people from all walks of life and religions come and participate, and one of the specialties is that, women do not participate in playing with colours. Colours are not applied on them," said Vibhav Shirvoikar, a devotee.

The festival has emerged as an example of communal harmony over the years.

According to ancient lore, the festival was celebrated to mark the homecoming of warriors who left their homes and families to fight invaders.

In modern times, the festival is celebrated to coincide with the ripening of the winter crop.

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