Wear a mask, grab a pint, and groove to the booming music, ‘cause the Goa Carnival is here! After much deliberation, the state government and Goa Tourism have finally confirmed that toned down celebrations will take place on February 13 and 14 this year.
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The carnival (also called ‘Viva Carnaval’) is normally celebrated in six to seven cities, but in 2021 will be restricted to Panaji (North Goa) on the 13th and Margao (South Goa) on the 14th.
Why is the Goa Carnival celebrated?
The event is Goa’s version of Mardi Gras, a Christian festival focused on feasting and merriment before the beginning of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting and prayer. Lent represents Jesus Christ’s sacrifices in the wilderness before he was crucified, and ends with Easter, which marks his day of resurrection.
The Goa Carnival thus represents the last few days of drinking and eating to your heart’s content before the abstinence of Lent begins. The only one of its kind in India, the Latin-style event traces back to the Portuguese rule of Goa.
A lucky local gets to play the role of King Momo, the ‘king of the carnival’ who presides over the parade and declares it open. This year’s King is Sixtus Eric Dias, a restaurant owner.
If you’ve never heard of the event, 2020’s theme song video is the perfect introduction:
What to expect this year
Spectacular floats depicting Goa’s culture. Soulful music, costumed dancers, delicious food. And of course, crazy parties after sundown! The Carnival attracts thousands of tourists for its grand scale, but is likely to have lower numbers this year due to COVID-19. Hotel prices may still surge near its dates, which is why you should book your stay in advance.
In Panaji, the carnival’s floats will start out from Divja Circle under the Mandovi bridge, and then head towards the Adil Shah Palace to be flagged off. The processions will then move through DB Road, coming to a halt at Kala Academy.
IndiGo rolls out Goan meal, cultural colours for flyers
The airline has announced festive treats for those travelling between Goa’s Dabolim Airport and Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad during the carnival. Flyers will be able to pre-book and buy chicken xacuti and paneer xacuti sandwiches on board from February 12 to 17.
IndiGo will also celebrate the carnival at all five of these city airports between February 7 to 16 with Goan dances, staff dressed in traditional clothing, and boarding announcements in Konkani and English.
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