Goa is known for its annual carnival- however, have you heard about the Shigmo festival - a fiesta of colours on the 14th and 15th of March?
Celebrated in the Konkani part of Goa, the Shigmo festival is held at the onset of the spring season beginning with Holi and marks the celebrations in the Konkani part of Goa where the Hindus paint intricate murals and carve idols illustrating characters from the Hindu mythology.
The term ‘Shigmo’ is derived from a Prakrit word – Suggimaho and the Sanskrit word – Sugrishmaka. In different parts of the country, it is celebrated with different names. It is known as Holi in North India, Kamadahan in South India, Dolyatra in Assam and Bengal, and Shimga in Maharashtra.
Celebrated a few days before the full moon night of the Indian lunar month of Phalgun, generally in March as per Saka Calendar. The festival has two variants - DhaktoShigmo and VhadloShigmo and is known as the festival of colours or spring festival for Goans, spanning for a fortnight.
How is the festival celebrated?
The Shigmo festival is an extravaganza of colours, where people throw gullal on each other and are clad in colourful traditional costumes and dance with deities' umbrellas. The celebration includes folk dances, parades and temple yatras. Houses are beautifully adorned to welcome the festive delight.
Martial dances like 'Ghode-morni' or the horse dance, 'Rommatamel', and 'Fugdi' dances are also performed.
The parade which is carried out in different cities of Goa highlights painted idols and illustrations showcasing a number of episodes from folklore and mythological portraying the themes from ancient Hindu scriptures which attracts tourists from all parts of the world. The best performer and the best float decorators are honoured.
The possession is also supported by the Goan government and a majority of the dances can be witnessed in rural parts of Goa during Dhakto Shigmo, performed by the farmers and the rural class at night.
What is the history of the Shigmo Festival?
The first legend from the Pranic states that the festival is celebrated for the burning of the evil Holika, who wanted to get her religious nephew – Prahlad burnt to death. Some also believe that this day marks the death of Putana by Lord Krishna.
Shigmotsav is also celebrated as a tribute to Kamadeva – the Hindu god of love. It also commemorates the return of the warriors who left after Dussehra for a battle with the invaders. Another reason for celebrations is the ripening of the winter crops hence it is also known as the harvest festival. The rural also believe that celebrating the festival brings good luck to them.
The Shigmo also marks the celebration of Gadotsav- where the villagers wearing white dhoti runs towards raw crematoriums at midnight. It is an ancient tradition to appease the Holy Spirits- considered as the Guardians of local villages to protect against natural calamities and other spirits. You can visit the Sal, Kudne & Pilgao in Bicholim District to witness this unique experience.
So if you love to be a part of history and would love to experience a remarkable celebration, this festival should definitely be on your bucket list. This festival brings the locales and the travellers in high spirits while soaking you in festive cheer.
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