Another year has gone by leaving lots of memories behind. Our tiny little state which is famous all over the world as one of the top most preferred tourist destination has seen numerous new-fangled growth this year in respect to entertainment, tourism and of course the politics. With this issue of Goa Prism we are entering into the New Year with new milestones and it is our pleasure to bring to you this article depicting the year that was in the memory lane and we hope you all enjoy this journey…..
The January month of 2014 witnessed first Lusophonia Games which was held in Goa was the 3rd edition of the Lusophonia Games, a multi-sport event that represent athletes from Portuguese-speaking countries and territories. It was held from 18–29 January 2014 in state of Goa. The state government spent crores of rupees to organize this in Goa and it was suppose to be a successful venture according to the politicians and bureaucrats.
February 2014 witnessed the famous Grape Escapade organized by the Goa Tourism Department every year in the winter season. This festival is organized to promote the wineries in Goa and around. Apart from being the only festival of its kind in Goa, the Grape Escapade is also touted to be the most enjoyable festival to date. Held in Goa from the 6th to the 9th Feb 2014 at Campal Grounds, Panaji-Goa, the festival brought together restaurateurs, hoteliers, wineries and lifestyle brands, all under one roof. While live music and entertainment sets the tone for the evening, wine tasting sessions by an accomplished sommelier and food connoisseur was conducted. Adding to the vibrancy, were special variety entertainment acts, jazz sessions, fashion shows and a beauty contest.
Then comes the month when Goa witnesses the wind of RIO with celebration of Carnival. Goa Carnival 2014 the 4 day extravaganza of fun, frolic, amusement and festivity kick started from 1st March, 2014 and promising to keep up the zeal and zest among its people till 4th March, 2014. The carnival every year covers the entire state and the festivities include a parade of colorful floats and troupes of masked revelers attired in gorgeous costumes singing and dancing to lively music that is usually performed live. The best floats are given handsome prizes. The opening day parade starts on 1st March, 2014 from Panjim.
Followed by the Carnival April 2014 witnessed the G-ITM (Goa International Travel Mart) 2nd April to 4th April at Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Stadium at Taleigao plateau. Goa International Travel Mart carried out every year to showcase Goa as a travel destination. It strives to bring about a face to face interaction of the travel-trade, hoteliers, and other stake holders from Goa with leading travel agents from India and abroad. A special Goa Pavilion was created at the GITM this year to showcase festivals and nightlife, beaches, heritage trails, UNESCO Heritage sites, Wild life, Medical tourism, Monsoon tourism, MICE, Wedding Destination, Spice Farms and Adventure.
May 2014 seen the first Goa Cashew and Coconut festival, the first introduction of Cashew in India was in Goa, It adds greatly to the economy of Goa. Coconut palm as well is an equal contributor to it. To commemorate that, the Cashew and Coconut fest held in May 2014. The fest was focused on the use of cashews and coconuts in the Goan traditional methods. This is a new kind of event that is organized in order to boost tourism in the state. There were various cashew drinks and coconut products that were exhibited during this festival. This event brought together the local artisans of Goa to create unique experiences for the tourists.
June 2014 was the beginning to monsoon season and tourism industry stated anticipating local tourists as foreigners left Goa with the promise to join next season. Every monsoon the Sao Joao festival is celebrated with grandeur and gaiety. It is dedicated to St. John the Baptist which is celebrated as a feast on 24thJune. The fest includes villagers jumping into the wells streams and ponds. This jump is to signify the joy that St. John felt when Jesus was born. During monsoons this event is the major attraction for tourists. Pool parties and private Sao Joao parties in Goa serve as a complete package of merriment and joy. Guests are made to wear crowns made of leaves and flowers called ‘Kopel’. Popular Goan music bands and dancers perform at various locations and delicious Goan delicacies are served.
In July 2014 saw some new developments with the news about ban on bikinis and Drinking in public on the Goan beaches which created ripples in the tourism sector of Goa with various comments but later with the intervene of CM the issue was settled down to BAN on Drinking in Public but Bikinis were allowed on the beaches. Bikinis cannot be banned on beaches, but there could be a crack-down on drinking in public in Goa, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said addressing a press conference after the cabinet meeting in Panaji, Parrikar also said he did not find anything objectionable with the point of view put forth by Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Sudin Dhavalikar following a private conversation with him. Dhavalikar’s comments about banning bikinis and short skirts to “protect Goan culture” created a national sensation.
August 2014 witnessed Bonderam festival in Goa at famous Divar Island. This festival was celebrated on the island of Divar located 12 kilometers away from Panjim, on the fourth Saturday of August. The festival begined with a multi coloured flag parade along with a brass band on the island. Once the festival is declared open, the entire island come to life. Events like fancy dress competitions followed by the traditional float parade and performances by famous music bands of Goa occurred throughout the day. The fest is held in remembrance of the age old dispute between clans existing on the island during the Portuguese era. Hence the multi coloured flags that demarcate the boundaries of the respective clans.
Genesh Chaturhi also known as CHAVATH is celebrated in Goa with lots of enthusiasm and devour of sweets. This festival was held in September 2014 this year. This festival is also known as ‘Chovoth’ in Goa. This is by far the biggest Hindu festival in Goa. It is symbolized by the worship of clay idols of Lord Ganesha. It’s celebrated for a minimum two days and can go up to 21 days. Some of the places in Goa like Marcella have their own style of Chavath celebration as they use more natural stuff to create the Ganesha Idols and it is very famous in Goa. Ganesh Chaturthi celebration in Goa is the biggest of the big as everybody from the family wherever they are in the world around comes down to their ancestral house and celebrates together with entire family.
Tripurari Poornima is another event takes place in Goa in the Month of October every year. Tripurari Poornima festival is held on the banks of river Valvanthi in Sanquelim. It marks the end of Diwali festival in Goa. There are boat contests held on the river banks wherein a lot of contestants bring handmade miniature replicas of actual boats in different shapes, sizes and colours. This competition draws a large number of spectators from all over Goa. Besides the boat competition there are song performances by famous Goan singers, and other cultural events such as traditional folk dances.
The November every year in Goa witnesses the International Film Festival and now Goa is declared as the permanent venue of the IFFI. This year the inauguration of IFFI was done by famous Shri. Amitabh Bacchan Ji at new venue The Shyama Prasad Stadium at Taleigao plateu, although this year the harness of the festival was not in the hands of Parriker as he was promoted to Delhi Darbar as Senapati (Indian Defense Minister) but still the new chairman did the justice to the festival and as they say of the End is well that means all is well. The festival ended with the good note.
Goa is on its peak in the month of December with hundreds of festivals lined up in the state more than dozens of EDM festivals (Sunburn & Supersonic), Christmas and New year Celebrations and the most prominent is the Exposition of St. Francis Xavier which was held this year after the gap of 10 years. People from all over the world visited Goa to witness the exposition as according to the un-official sources this could be the last exposition as the body of Saint is getting more decayed with the time. But it’s still not confirmed by any official sources. Millions of the people have visited old Goa to take the blessings of the Goencho Saib and it will continue till the first week of January when the exposition will get over on 4th of January 2015.
By the time I finish this article the New Year is yet to approach and the celebration of year that is ending is yet to come so I am going to take a round to the EDM festival and then celebrate the new year with family and friends and by the time this reaches you I will be working on the next story for you. Please leave your comments on facebook page about this issue. Wish you all HAPPY NEW YEAR
TEXT & IMAGES : Rajesh Ghadge