Goa is one of the smallest state of India. It is situated just in middle of the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea. And the other two sides are surrounded by Maharashtra and Karnataka.
Though it is small in size and population, it has a rich and unique culture and traditions among India. Maritime trade and Portuguese colonial rule helped Goa to achieve these fuse and blend cosmopolitan cultural elements in Goan society. It gives Goa a unique ethnographic and musical tradition creating an unusual amalgam of East and West, a simple folk and modern India cultural Ethos. Goa has been ruled for over 1500 years directly or through local people by different empire like the Bhojas, Mauryas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Shilaharas, Kadambas, Bahamanis, the Vijayanagara and Adilshahi before the Portuguese colonial captured Goa in 1510 AD.
These rulers left behind there cultural impressions on the society of Goa that became a tradition to Goans and made Goa united. An output of this unity is symbolically best captured in folk music, dance and drama. The Portuguese ruled the four provinces (captured earlier) for 450 years and the remaining seven provinces (captured later) for a period of 215 years. So, the colonial influence on Goa is not made a uniform impact on all the provinces equally. Even the religious and cultural impact of Portuguese on the initially captured provinces partly or wholly destroyed the core folklore ethos.
While it remains more or less intact in the newly captured provinces. As in other part of the country , history of Goa witness many ups and downs- the rise and fall of many dynasties. These events hampered the growth of art and culture as well as the prosperity of social life. It is notable that though Portuguese ruled for a long time but they don"t deeply influence the indigenous art and culture of Goa. But some new styles and tradition involved within the elites but not on the entire population. Thus, folk art basically remains untouchable and traditional.
A myth spread by the ill-informed Indo-Portuguese that, Goa had no worth speaking culture at all before Portuguese reached Goa. In return of that we can cite Perni Zagor which is a classical example of an ancient festival of Goa's folklore. Also it is now proven by many research that the evolution of complex mask dance drama started from Goa"s ancient culture. Many folk-dance dramas in India use masks. Goa"s Perni Zagor is unique and ancient among these because it has its roots in fertility rites related to Neolithic Shamanism. It also mix up with Vedic and Puranic mythological themes.
This process gone under a continuous improvement according to different sequence till the Portuguese reached to Goa. This traditional festival is only performed by some traditional families of the Perni community in only five villages in Goa- Molcornem in Quepem taluka, Vaghurme in ponda taluka, Poinguinim in Canacona taluka, Colomba in Sanguem taluka in the south Goa district and Mayem in Bicholim taluka in north Goa district. It is mainly a mask dance festival which represents the different characteristics of nature, animals, birds, fish and so on. This festival is performed on ritualistic activity associated with village deities. Perni Zagor is a folk form based on religious fertility practice with existed in the fertile valley of the Zuari river basin. The cultural festival Perni Zagor is performed continuously for more than 3000 years. Clearly it also have some influence on Goa"s cultural history. Some mythological characteristics like Saraswati, Ganesh, Mahadev, Krisna, Putana,and so on also associated among the performance. Some ancient and traditional Sanskrit works such as Abhilashitartha-Chintamoni, Sangita Ratnakara, Nrattaratnavali and Sangita Samaya Sara, it refers to that that works consulted with various aspects related to the folk and traditional performance like that of Perni. The different kinds of festivals are related to old traditions that emerged after the fusion of races and agricultural communities.
Example of these can be Shigmo, an excellent spring festival or Dhalo, only performed by women. Shigmo is performed by males and like a tribute to the nature. During this festival there is dance, music and drama performed all over the state. Dhalo is a festival performed by women at the month of Pousha and Magha according to Hindu calendar. In this festival women performs a series of songs dedicated to Mother Earth. It is performed in the court yard of every ones house. The Dhalo festival is directly connected with the rhythm of nature, mainly mother earth worship and fertility rituals. Gudulyam Parab is another festival performed by the Hindu Kundi community of Goa which make a relationship among the people of Goa and Malabar region up to Kerala.
This festival is organized on the 11th and 12th day of Bhadrapada month according to Hindu calendar. Ancestor worship is also a prominent festival among Goan"s. This is a festival dedicated to village GOD. In some areas it is believed that if the village GOD satisfies then he would protect them from all harms. Another beliefs is that mortal spirits of the dead could make harm to the people. In this festival they also pray to drive away these spirits. Also a lot of folklore forms is given at the end of the article in a table. Many heroic elements are occurred through various sacrificial rituals and performance like Veeramel, Ghodemodn and Gade. Also some humorous elements are presented through folk dance like Lawani, Romot at khela and Radha-Krishna naach. South Indian music have some impact on Goa"s music. Powerful dynasties surrounded Goa have a strong impact on Goa"s culture. Folk performance like khel indicated the clear influence of South Indian culture. Goa mainly developed its musical performance during the rule of Vijayanagara emperors (1380-1472). The musical instruments used during the temple rituals capture the Dravidian influence. The Goan society mainly composed of Hindus and Christians. The different festivals performed by the people has some similarity. These similarity can be found during various art forms such as music, drama, dance and theatre.
These two different community stayed together like brothers. Goan Catholics are mostly converts from various Hindu caste. But after the Portuguese reached Goa they have a strong influence on the Christians. They began to use some European dress like shirts, pants, cap etc. also the working class women start to wear sari, locally known as ligat or nugat. Using turmeric powder mixed with coconut oil is a common ritual during weeding among Hindus. This is also a Christian tradition. The lighting and carrying lamps is associated with Christian. While Hindus use latern made with colored paper during Dewali. Many other similarities can be found among the two communities. Zagor performed in Siolim village could be cited as a good example of communal harmony and understanding. Hindus and Christians performed the festival together and mainly Christians play the musical instruments. There is a surprising similarities associated among the two communities in food and drink. There are a lot of common sweet dishes used by both community.
Both communities also maintain the tradition taking seasonal vegetables. Also a similarity could be observed in the music. In the time of 19th and 20th century, new musical forms are introduced among Goans. This musical forms gather a meeting point for Hindus and Christians. The form of music is consist of Latin American rhythm but the melody remains Indian. But when the cultural events gone under change it would never displaced from its root. A lot of changes are associated but the traditional festival and culture remains mostly unchanged. These makes the Goan"s to think about there past history. The mixing of new culture helps to make a harmony with the new community raised among Goa. Thus the folklore of Goa represents peace, harmony and universal brotherhood among all the people lived there life in Goa. Different festivals performed by the Goan" are listed below:
Although it is true that there is a lot of other festivals remain unlisted performed by individual but these are the most common festivals performed by all the people in Goa. The culture of Goa consist of a very much unique and different flavor. It is quite different then India"s culture and has its own identity that makes Goa"s culture a very attractive one.
Posted on: 10-02-2010