The much-awaited Goa Carnaval & Shigmotsav festival dates were announced in a press conference conducted by the Ministry of Tourism, Goa, convened under tourism minister Mr Rohan Khaunte. During this press conference, the minister filled in the major details regarding the ever-vibrant folk festivals emerging from Konkani and Western-Christian roots growing back centuries, along with the state’s tourism plans. The Goa Carnaval 2023 will be very unique as it will be a blend of sea, air, and ground. This year we will witness aerial participation for the very first time, a helicopter will be part of the carnival parade, and there will be floats in the river Mandovi.
Going back to the Konkani roots from where the Intruz started, the Carnaval originates from Mardi Gras, a Christian tradition of indulgent feasts and dancing & drinking bouts before the fasting and abstinence associated with the penitential season of lent. This year, the Carnaval is set to commence from the 18th until the 21st of February and a curtain raiser on the 17th of February in Porvorim. The flagging off of the float parade will be done on Saturday at Panaji. The traditional route for the Carnaval float procession in the capital city will start at New Patto Bridge and pass in front of the former secretariat. The centres for the carnaval are Porvorim, Panaji, Margao, Vasco, Mapusa and Morjim.
The Carnaval parade will move along the road with floats in categories such as traditional, institutional, family fun junk, clown joker, etc., including floats from local villages, commercial entities, and cultural groups. The Carnaval includes the staging of local streetside plays, commonly known as ‘Khell Tiatr’, in the coastal taluka of Salcete in South Goa. The Carnaval remains Goa’s most famous festival and has been celebrated since the 18th century.
Russel D’Souza from Margão, Goa, has been selected as the King Momo for this year. He is an entrepreneur chosen from 10 applicants based on the usual personality, background and talent criteria. King Momo traditionally proclaims the Konkani message kha, piye aani majja kar (eat, drink and make merry).
The spectacular five-day festival of colours, the “Shigmotsav” or “Shigmo festival”, also regarded as Goa’s spring festival, is held in the villages of Goa every year. Famous temple “Yatras” take place during this time. This festival is celebrated in the month of Phalguna (March) from the 9th moon day to the full moon day as per the Hindu calendar. It is the biggest festival for the Hindus. To draw tourists, this festival is celebrated in several towns. Cities host processions that feature both contemporary floats and traditional Goan dancing. Best float decorators and performers in the procession receive awards. This year, the colourful festival is set to begin from March 8th until March 21st. The centres for the Shigmo float parade are set in Ponda, Bicholim, Mapusa, Panaji, Porvorim, Pernem, Valpoi, Sanqualim, Curchorem, Vasco, Margao, Sanguem, Quepem and Canacona. These floats comprise traditional folk dances, street dancers and floats depicting religious scenes.
Like every year, this year too, the tourism department is beholden to welcome tourists from across the world for a delightful time in Goa. Goa’s tourism department is ensuring that all the necessary steps are taken to ensure public safety. With the launch of the new Helipad, tourism will incline towards the vibrant sightseeing Goa has to offer and attract high-end tourists. The department has also set up a 24×7 running helpline for tourists in cases of distress or to seek any detail they require. With hopes of making Goa a responsible and sustainable tourism destination, the department is elated to serve Goans and their guests.