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We provide information about the beginning and origin of Goa Carnival. It is said that Goa Carnival originated as an adaptation of the Roman Carnival and has its roots in Christianity.
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Origin of Goa Carnival

The funkiest fest of India, Goa Carnival is a three-day long festival. King Momo introduced Goa Carnival just before the Lent season of the Christian calendar. According to Christianity, Lent is the 40-day period of fasting and penance before the Easter Sunday meant to purify one's soul. An adaptation of the Roman carnival, this tamer version in Goa usually starts off on Fat Saturday known as 'Sabado Gordo' and concludes on Fat Tuesday known as 'Shrove Tuesday', just before Ash Wednesday that starts with the first day of the season of Lent. Yet the Carnival in Goa is a madness of sorts. A few years back, it was better known as a Christian festival and everywhere one could see Carnival floats, balls and street dances taking over the streets of Goa.

Carnival in Goa in its early days was the time when the white masters and their black saves mimicked each other as the brown natives watched them in awe. The whites masqueraded as black slaves while their slaves, generally from Mozambique, plastered their faces with flour and wore high battens or walked on stilts. In due time, the old crude mimicry evolved into a social satire. The native rural play-writers wrote theme for Khel ('playi' in Konkani) while the Portuguese Governor General, his family and retinue showered the crowds with poudre de riz and confetti and danced with anyone who wished for a dance with them.

In 1922, Dr. Jaime de Morais, the then Governor General of Goa, transformed the entire area around the 'Palacio do Hidalcao' into a 'fairy land' as he waged a mock war with the children of Panjim from the verandah of his palace using powder bombs, bags of perfumed powder, flowers and sugarplums. Balloons bobbed up in the air with multicolored trails and a colorful procession featuring horse-drawn carriages, decorated bullock carts and gorgeously bedecked floats were the highlights during the 3 days. Then Goa Carnival was not just a celebration. It was a mood and was strictly for participants as people sang and danced all nights long. The couple that fell in love during the carnival married after Easter. Today, visitors unacquainted with the Goan way of life are often stunned to see the locals singing and dancing practically non-stop for four nights and three days and drinking by the barrel without getting drunken. Revelers greet each other with a full-throated 'Viva Carnaval'.

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