Goa Carnival (Intruz)

Goa Carnival (Intruz)
Populated mainly by Hindus and Muslims, India has a rather small proportion of Christian population (about 2.3%). Nevertheless the state of Goa hosts a spectacular Carnival celebration that attracts thousands of tourists. The Carnival of Goa, also known as Intruz, is an interesting amalgamation of both Eastern and Western cultures.

Goa was ruled by Portugal for over 450 years, from 1510 to its annexation by the Republic of India in 1961. No wonder that it is often described as a fusion between Eastern and Western culture with Portuguese culture having a dominant role. It was Portuguese settlers who brought the Western Christian festive season known as Carnival to Goa.

The Goa Carnival is known as Intruz (from the Portuguese word “Entrudo”, another name for Carnival). Originally a purely Christian celebration, it has grown to become a statewide celebration for people of all religions and cultures. Intruz began to dwindle by the end of the Portuguese rule but local authorities revived it to attract more tourists to Goa.

The festivities are held throughout the state, starting on the Saturday before Ash Wednesday and lasting through Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras). The largest celebration is held in the city of Panaji, the capital of Goa. It features colorful parades, street parties, concerts, and other festivities. Although the carnival tradition was brought to Goa from Portugal, Intruz seems to be modeled after Brazilian Carnival with its parades and dances.

The Goa Carnival is presided over by the legendary King Momo. King Momo is a traditional carnival character in many Latin American countries (and, as it turns out, in India too) that embodies the spirit of the Carnival. He is usually portrayed by a tall, broad man. The festivities officially begin when King Momo arrives in the city.

The Goa Carnival is filled with parties, processions with allegorical floats and performers in vibrant costumes, dancing, singing, music, and feasting. On Shrove Tuesday, it is customary to eat crepes filled with freshly grated coconut and condensed coconut sap. This tradition was also borrowed from Europe. One of the highlights of the Carnival is the famous red and black dance that marks the end of the festivities.

Intruz has no religious undertones, it is a celebration for anyone and everyone that attracts thousands of tourists from all over India and abroad.

Goa Carnival

Phot: joegoauk69




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