PANAJI: Giving several social messages, carnival festivities kicked off in Goa with a colourfully-decorated float parade in the state capital on Saturday evening.
The participants gave the message of ‘Don’t drink and drive’ and ‘Save environment’, among many others. A large crowd was seen along the streets of Panaji to witness glimpses of the carnival parade. With chants of ‘Viva Carnival’, youths danced to western beats and also on Konkani tracks.
Speaking to reporters after flagging off the parade, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said, “We are celebrating the carnival in vivid ways to attract tourists. It is also important to participate in the carnival to increase the happiness index. I congratulate everyone for taking part in this event.”
Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte said, “We display our tradition through the carnival. This time also, has we have tried to bring people together with new ideas. This is a people’s carnival where all come together and celebrate.”
“This year’s carnival is very unique as it is a blend of sea, air and ground. For the very first time, a helicopter is part of the carnival parade, while boats in Mandovi river are following the floats,” Khaunte said.
Carnival processions, symbolic of Goa’s colonial Portuguese legacy, involve public celebration in the form of long parades of colourful floats with masqueraded dancers led by ‘King Momo’ – the king of the carnival.
King Momo is usually a locally-chosen dignitary who is given a symbolic key to the city and formally announces the festivities open. He gave the message of “eat, drink, and be merry”.
Similar carnival float parades will be organised in other towns of the state in the coming days till February 21.
The carnival also includes the staging of street plays, locally known as ‘Khell Tiatr’, in the coastal taluka of Salcete in South Goa.