Carnival Traditions - Goa

Carnival Traditions: Cabo Verde | Goa | Trinidad & Tobago | Angola | Venice | Brazil Ancient History to Carnival in a Paragraph The earliest traces of human life in the region now known as Goa has a history that goes back 20,000 - 30,000 years (the oldest in India), and rock engravings, petroglyphs, cones stone axes and choppers mark ancient history of its inhabitants. There’s a long rich history that encompasses too much to get into in a short article such as this, but the region has been ruled by everyone from Buddhists emperors and Bhojas, to the Delhi Sultanate and finally, the Portuguese, which began its rule in 1510 with the defeat of the ruling Bijapur sultan Yousuf Adil Shah. Their rule spanned almost four and a half centuries and influenced everything from art and architecture to music and food, and some historians believe that carnival was introduced to Goa by the Portuguese near the beginning of their reign. As with other carnival celebrations throughout the world, it spans a period leading up to Lent, in this case 3 - 4 days. Traditionally, it began with a role playing farce in which the colonial rulers pretended to be slaves and vise versa. This tradition continues to this day, but with revellers playing the roles. The drama of carnival continues with short plays which show the tradition and culture of the region. Huge processions with floats, bands, dancers and musicians parade down the streets of Panaji, Goa. The character King Momo is known as the king of carnival in several countries, and that extends to India, where he leads his entourage of merry-makers, fire-eaters, acrobats, jesters, dancers and brass bands down the main street. Back to Global Carnival Traditions >>

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