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Shigmo : The Goan festival of colors, dance and myths

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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