Panjim, March 31 : People in Goa celebrated the popular Shigmo festival this past week, marking the onset of spring. It is one of the eagerly awaited events in the State.
This fest was marked by colourful processions of dancers who waded through the streets to the tunes of traditional music, which echoed in the air of this coastal state.
The festival is generally celebrated by organizing large fairs and parades in Goa.
On this occasion, people belonging to almost all communities come together and prepare attractive tableaux. They dress up as colourful characters and enthusiastically take part in the processions.
On Sunday, hundreds of performers attired in white outfits and colorful turbans danced with gay abandon chanting praises of Lord Krishna and enacting mock fights.
Preparations for the festival had started months ahead of the main day.
"Youngsters start preparations for the festival six to seven months in advance for Shigmo. It is an attempt to preserve the cultural heritage of Goa," said Prakash Velip, a participant.
Most of these tableaux's themes are based on mythology or popular local legends. Some of them also depict important happenings related in the holy epics.
It is said that the festival used to be celebrated in the ancient times marking the homecoming of warriors who left their homes and families to fight invaders.
Today, it is celebrated with more enthusiasm, coinciding with the yield of winter crops.
"This year Shigmo was really good and awesome. The floats were amazing. They teach a lot to the Indian kids, especially to small kids. All the people coming over from Konkon all over, it was really amazing, it was nice and we really enjoyed it," said Pratima Coutinho, one tourist who participated in the celebrations.
The festival lasts almost a fortnight in Goa and is celebrated with much joy and fervour by Goans. It is popularly known as "Shigmotsav" in Goa.
The festival is a live index of communal harmony in Goa as people irrespective of their religious faith celebrate it together.
Celebrations reach its crescendo by dusk, when martial art dances of the region are performed.