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Shigmo : The Goan festival of colors, dance and myths

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Goa, India: Beginning in the month of Spring and merging with the festival of Holi, Goa celebrates its dazzling Shigmostav, the festival of colors and dance.

The days of the year are always earmarked for the festival in accordance with the Saka calendar. The celebrations are divided into two parts – one is Dhakto Shigma and another is Vhaldo Shigma.  The Dhakto Shigma is usually of more importance to the general classes which includes the rural masses, labors and farmers, whereas the Vhaldo Shigma demands much more significance on its part and is hailed as essential by all.

Dhakto Shigma steps in while in the months of ‘Falgun’ spanning five days before the full moon and ending at the rise of it, which obviously states that the events follow a lunar calendar. It has its hold on the old conquests areas of Goa or the spaces that were under the prolonged Portugal rule beginning its journey from that of the 16th century. Different kinds of folk dances and singing are carried during the festivities.

On the other hand, Vhaldo Shigma takes place on the coming of the full moon day and continues for more or less of another five days. It generally depicts the new conquest areas of Goa. The celebration is believed to take place mainly in the village temples. A large number of devotees attend the Shigma. It starts with the bathing and then draping a saffron robe around the deity. After that, food is offered to the lord, proceeding with a glorious feast.

‘Yatras’ or processions are also carried out from the temples, which does its rounds in the city. The ‘Yatra’ will include the wonderful displays of traditional Goan dances like the ‘Ghode-morni’, also called the horse dance. It carries with them the floats which will depict the scenes of ancient Hindu scriptures and of Gods and Goddesses.

Jot and Naman are the two major types of sung that is usually sung by the villagers. Dhol and Taso are the instruments, which the people carry around throughout the village and dance to its tunes. The dances may as well include the Lamp dance, Hanpet and Gopha. During the last phase of the festivities, it is believed that the spirit of Gade Padap enters into the bodies of the dancers and possess them.

Finally, the celebration is wrapped up with the Mand Davarap, meaning a collective bath taken by the people of the community as one.

Shigmo originates from the Konkani term of ‘Sigmo’.

This year, the much-awaited festival will be held on March 25 and thus continue till that of April 7.

One of the major celebrations held in Goa, it is generally held in regard mostly by the Hindu community and the Konkani diaspora as well.

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India China’s Fight Over the Doklam Plateau Explained

Doklam or Donglang, is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India

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picture from- indiaopines.com

By Ruchika Verma

  • India and China have an old history of disputes
  • This time, the dispute is regarding the Dokplam Plateau
  • The area is of strategic importance for both the nations

Disputes between India and China are not at all uncommon. The rivalry between the two nations is famous. There have been several disputes between the two on the India-China border in past, and there seems to be no stopping for these disputes in the present or future, for that matter.

India and China have a n old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com
India and China have an old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com

In June 2017, the world witnessed yet another dispute arising between India and China. This time the dispute was about China building a road extending to Doklam Plateau, which both nations have been fighting over for years now.

Also Read: China is likely to get involved if India disrupts $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

History of the dispute 

Doklam or Donglang (in Chinese), is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India. India doesn’t directly claim the area but supports Bhutan’s claims on it.

India fits into the picture, as this plateau is an important area for India. Not only is Bhutan one of the biggest allies of India; China gaining access over the Doklam Plateau will also endanger India’s borders, making them vulnerable to attacks.

Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan's borders.
Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan’s borders.

Apart from the hostile history of the two nations, the Doklam Plateau is also important for India to maintain its control over a land corridor that connects to its remote northeastern States. China building a road through Doklam surely threatens that control.

A complete timeline of what happened in the recent Doklam Standoff 

On 16 June 2017, Chinese troops with construction vehicles and excavators began extending an existing road southward on the Doklam plateau, near India’s border. It was Bhutan which raised the alarm for India.

On 18 June 2017, India responded by sending around 270 Indian troops, with weapons and two bulldozers to evict the Chinese troops from Doklam.

On 29 June 2017, Bhutan protested against the construction of a road in the disputed territory.  According to the Bhutanese government, China attempted to extend a road in an area which is shared both Bhutan and India, along with China.

Between 30 June 2017 and 5 July 2017, China released multiple statements justifying their claim over the Doklam plateau. They cited reasons as to why the Doklam standoff wasn’t really needed. And how China has not intruded into India’s territory to incite the standoff.

On 19th July 2017, China asked India again to withdraw its troops from the Doklam. On 24th July 2017,  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in his statement, asked India to withdraw and behave themselves to maintain peace.

India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC
India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC

Also Read: Why India Must Counter China’s High-Altitude Land Grab?

What followed till 16th August 2017 was China constantly alleging India of trying to create trouble. They accused India of trying to disturb the peace and not withdrawing the troops, even after repeated reminders. They also accused India of bullying.

India, however, kept quiet during the whole fiasco, only releasing a statement regarding their stand and position at the Doklam standoff.

On 28 August 2017, India and China finally announced that they had agreed to pull their troops back from the Doklam standoff. The withdrawal was completed on that very day.

On 7 September 2017, many media reports claimed that both nation’s troops have not left the site completely. They were still patrolling the area, simply having moved 150 meters away from their previous position.

On 9 October 2017, China announced that it is ready to maintain peace with India at the frontiers. India reacted in affirmative, the peace was established when Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman’s visited Nathu La.

The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay
The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay

The Doklam issue, for now, is resolved. However, given the history of disputes between India and China, it won’t be a surprise if the issue resurfaces again in near future.