People, Culture and Festivals

The state of Goa is abundant and rich in people, culture and festivals. Being an immensely multi-cultural state, its festivals and people are numerous and various.

People: The people of Goa are very friendly, relaxed and extremely happy-go-lucky. The afternoon siesta is an important feature of life in Goa; in accordance with it shops down their shutters from one to four. People of Goa belong to different faiths and come from different cultural backgrounds. However, they all lay emphasis on good living.

Culture: Having had a multicultural past, the people, culture and festivals of Goa have been accordingly affected. The Portuguese were great church builders, their desire to spread their faith an important motivation. However, the early Hindu and Muslim settlers were nonetheless eager to populate the land with their descendents. So, what you see in modern-day Gao is a direct result of their urge. And much as the image evoked by Goa is the picture of its lush and luxurious beaches, the inhabitants of Goa are very religious-minded and conscious of their ethnicity.

Goan Food too forms an important part of the culture of Goa. Goa boasts of many different cuisines - the Konkan, the Portuguese and the Bahamani Nawabi traditions. Sea-food and rice, however, is a common feature with all these categories. Goa is abundant in different types of fish, the chief being, prawns, mussels, oysters and crabs.

Festivals: Goa is a medley of people, culture and festivals. So, all the major religious festivals of India are celebrated in Goa. In any case, fairs, fetes, fests, feasts and festivals are quite a regular feature of Goan life. Celebration is an integral part of Goan life; and not to miss out, they also have a day to commemorate the very idea of fun andfestivity.

Art

Having a long and chequered history followed by an absorption and amalgam of the individuality of each ethnic race involved in it, the state of Goa is rich in culture and heritage and art.

The performing art in Goa - is a specialty and a unique feature of the state of Goa. Though all these forms fall under the wide classification of dance, drama and music, yet each of these performing arts in Goa have a distinct Goan flavour and can be easily be distinguished from those of the other states.

The most significant part about the performing arts in Goa is the fact that each of them colourfully illustrates the unity in diversity of Goan heritage. In an attempt to revive, preserve and also help the performing arts in Goa to flourish, the Government of Goa has sponsored a self-governing organization in Goa called the Kala Academy of Goa. Set up in the year 1970, the organization aims at carrying out its objectives of restoring, improving and rejuvenating the existing forms of Goan dance, drama and music. However, they do not neglect to publicize Goan literature and other arts. However, they concentrate on the performing arts in Goa. To facilitate it further they offer scholarships to the eager and the talented and also run faculties for Indian music and dance, Western music and dance and theatre art.

Crafts in Goa

The handicrafts in Goa are of various types and are mostly made with the help of naturally available materials like clay, sea-shells, paper, bamboo and brass. In fact the handicraft division in Goa has attained extraordinary proportions mainly because of the workmanship, organization and skill of the craftsmen. The other reason for the flourishing of this division is because of the boom of tourism in Goa. With the number of tourist's multiplying in Goa there has been increase in the rush to carry back traditional Goan souvenirs. The government too has taken steps to further the cause of crafts in Goa. For this purpose the Government of Goa has set up the Goa Handicrafts, Rural & Small Scale Industries Development Corporation Limited (GHRSSIDC). Now some 1,000 craftsmen are employed in about 500 units.

The uniqueness of Goan crafts lie in the background of Goa's chequered history. The crafts of Goa mirror influences of Hindu, Muslim and Christian origins. However, the crafts do not mirror the distinctive elements of the different cultures; rather, they present a unified artistic amalgam. Apart from the materials mentioned above, wood, lacquer, jute, fabric, stone and coconut shells are also used to create some truly exquisite works of art.

Dance

The state of Goa is rich in culture and heritage, and art - especially performing art in Goa - in a unique feature of the state. Though all these forms fall under the wide classification of dance, drama and music, yet the Dance in Goa has a distinct Goan flavor and can be easily be distinguished from those of the other states.

The most significant part about the Dance in Goa is the fact that it colorfully illustrates the unity in diversity of Goan heritage. Moreover, dance in Goa is very ethnic; it is an amalgamation of the Indian aspects with the imported Western one. As a direct result of this fusion, various forms of dances have evolved, depending on the interpretation and expression of the social trends and techniques over the ages. So, different dance forms grew alongside the classical dance style. Each occasion has a separate dance; and each of these dances is distinctly different from the others

The Dekni is essentially performed by Women and is a traditional dance form. The music to which this dance is performed is has ingredients of both the East and the West. So the music is both ethnical and contemporary. The chief folk dances in Goa are the Fugdi and Dhalo and the Kunbi. The Kunbi, however, has elements of tribal dance to it as well. Their dance belongs to the era before the Portuguese conquest. The other unique feature about this dance is the fact that it is devoid of religious content and is mainly social. The Morulem is a folk dance of the rearward communities, and is performed on the Shigmo. The Lamp Dance too is a unique specialty of Goa. Performed chiefly by women during the time of the Shigmo, it is danced by balancing brass lamps with burning wicks on the head. It is popular mainly in southern and central Goa.

Music

The state of Goa is rich in culture and heritage, and art - especially performing art in Goa - in a unique feature of the state. Though all these forms fall under the wide classification of dance, drama and music, yet the music in Goa has a distinct Goan flavour and can be easily be distinguished from those of the other states. The most significant part about the music in Goa is the fact that it colorfully illustrates the unity in diversity of Goa's chequered heritage. So in the sphere of music, there is an amalgam of Indian Hindu and Muslim and Portuguese Christian genres.

The richness of the music in Goa can be further demonstrated by the fact that most of the renowned names in the field of music in India have originated from Goa. The most prominent and well known of them is that of Lata Mangeshkar. Another name is that of Surashri Kesarbai Kerkar.

Despite such a multicultural influence in the music in Goa, Konkani is the predominant language in used in Goan music. Music is an integral part of Goan life and so you will find music in all things Goan - be it dance or drama. So, even the instruments accompanying the songs are of much importance. Some of the frequently used ones are the Shehnai and the Cymbal.

Last Updated on : 8/06/2013