The western Indian state of Goa, a major tourist destination, is geared up to host the annual Shigmo Festival – a celebration of traditions and history through the eyes cultures and colours.
The onset of spring in India is marked by celebrations across the country. Bidding adieu to winters and welcoming a new season of freshness and new hopes, spring is synonymous to joy for most. While many parts in northern India celebrate it in form of Holi, the festival of colours, thousands of kilometres to the south, in the coastal state of Goa, locals celebrate what is called the Shigmo Festival.
And, it’s about time that Goa geared up for Shigmo. An annual affair, the Shigmo Festival 2017 can be enjoyed from March 14 to March 27.
A colourful fiesta of parades, with fancy floats and storytelling, the festival is a display of Goan culture and heritage. People decked up in brightly coloured traditional attires, flying multi-coloured flags, staging local dance forms, re-enacting mythological stories and playing with colours make for a vivacious sight during the festival days.
Otherwise home to various international music festivals, Goa is abuzz, during Shigmo, with the sounds of traditional drumbeats and flutes’ melodies, which flow across its streets along with the various marches.
The festivities, which are supported by the Goa government, are a show of the local cultures and a reflection of its history.
Celebrated as the spring’s biggest fest in Goa, Shigmo traditionally marks the return of local warriors who had left the Goan land to fight invaders at the end of Dusshera, another widely-celebrated Indian festival depicting the good’s triumph over evil.
Now a mega celebration and an attraction for tourists, the festivities see many troupes perform traditional dances like ‘Ghode Modni’ and ‘Fugdi’.
The event draws thousands of tourists, who witness Goa’s culture through this street festival filled with colours, music, dance and float parade.
The festival is often associated with Holi, but interestingly, it has roots in the history of Konkani people from this state. In fact, the word ‘shigmo’ was derived from the Konkani ‘sigmo’.
Shigmo is one of the major festivals of the Hindu community in the state. Over the years, the festival has, like the Goa’s annual carnival, come to be celebrated in major cities of the state.
Shigmo in Goa is essentially a festival for the masses and many farmers and cultivators celebrate it with much fervour. Festivals with similar celebrations but different names are celebrated across India, but the coastal area celebrates it like no other place does.