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Goa Carnival begins today; get your craziest outfit out

Romita Saluja

February 10, 2018

CARNIVAL ALERT! You just need to choose your craziest, wackiest, most vibrant outfit, and be in Goa between February 10 and 13 to have an experience that gets you drenched in heavily-coloured streets, and fun and frolic-filled air. There will be masks and merriment chants, music and dance, food and Feni. And there are just three rules for the party- a) Have fun, b) Have fun, c) Have fun. Oh, and no entry fee or whatsoever for the event. Here are some things you may need to know about Goa Carnival.

How it started

'Take away meat’ is what the word 'carnival' actually means. As surprising as it sounds, the carnival is actually a pagan festival originally celebrated by Catholics as a countdown to Lent. Latin words 'carne' (meat) and 'vale' (goodbye) come together to create the word ‘Carnival’, marking a period of feast and extravaganza before the 40 days of abstinence and fasting, the Lent, begins

It may also interest you to know that Goa is the only state in entire Indian subcontinent to be hosting the festival. The locals say it was the Portuguese who ruled over the land of Goa for a period of 400-500 years, from 15th till 20th century, who brought the festival to the region. However, it saw a drop in the enthusiasm before being revived after the ouster of the Portuguese.

The crowning of King Momo

‘Eat, drink, and make merry’ is what King Momo decrees. During the four days of merrymaking, King Momo is given the symbolic key to Goa. With heavily-decorated vehicles, parades, masks and colourful clothes, he enters the city with his entourage and kickstarts the extravaganza amid chants of

‘Viva Carnival’.

In Latin American countries, King Momo is considered the king of the carnival.

This year, Goa will see the crowning of 57-year-old float dancer Bruno Azaredo from Utorda, South Goa, as he takes over as King Momo. "I have been in this industry for a long time. If you see the pictures of the carnival for the years 2011 and 2012, you will find me dancing with troupes on the King Momo float... I don't think you can dance with such a huge dress on the float after being King Momo, but certainly I would not be able to stop myself and will dance to the rhythm of music," the Hindu quotes him as saying.

Every year, the Goa tourism ministry invites applicants for the coveted crown of King Momo. Last year, Roque Tome Fernandes (65), was selected as King Momo.

About float parades, food and feni