Everyone agrees that the best time to take your holiday in Goa is springtime. Not only is the weather dry and warm while not too stifling hot, but its spring festival time too!
Śigmo (also known as Śiśirotsava) is Goa’s version of Holi – the ancient Hindu spring festival, when everyone takes the chance to plaster their friends and family with coloured powder and water. Holi is the festival that Karl Pilkington experienced in episode 2 of the ‘Idiot Abroad’ TV series.
Lasting for two weeks in March, Śigmo sees off wintertime with a bang, or to be more precise, with the beat of massed ranks of drums and parades through the streets. If you take the chance to hunt out a Śigmo street party during your holiday in Goa, you’ll find colourful locally organised fairs and parades characterised by costumes and banners depicting the religious meaning of the festival. Local women perform a traditional dance called the Lamp Dance, in which they dance with, you guessed it, lamps on their heads. Elsewhere ‘warriors’ perform the dramatic Hanpet-Sword Dance.
One of the most popular Śigmo parades takes place in Panaji (or Panjim), the capital of Goa, which can be reached from Central Goan beach resorts including Vainguinim Beach and Dona Paula.
Your springtime holiday might also coincide with Sabado Gordo (Fat Saturday), which marks the beginning of the statewide ‘Carnival’.
Fat Saturday is the last Saturday before Lent. It kicks off Goa’s three day long Carnival, which runs until Fat or Shrove Tuesday. This year’s Carnival runs from March 5 to March 8. The festivities are, once again, most enthusiastically celebrated in the capital Panaji, and were introduced by the Catholic Portuguese colonialists who governed Goa from 1510 until 1961.
Expect masks, balls, more street parties with floats and costumed dancers, and live music being played into the early hours.
Posted : Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011 at 12:09
Kelly Pipes is a writer and editor who has worked in travel and travel publishing for the last ten years, and has enjoyed every single minute of it. Alongside other projects she shares off-beat travel news and authentic travel experiences on her own blog, Sandwagon.