The nature welcomes spring in its own way. The trees start springing fresh leaves, flowers start blooming, the sky smiles in its own way through the fluffy cirrus clouds. It is a burst of freshness, smelling new and spilling happiness all around.
To be at par with the nature, mankind celebrates spring in their own way. Throughout India, every region has its own festival for welcoming spring. Whether it is Basant Panchami, Holi, Navroz or Shigmotasav, all the festivals is about welcoming the new.
Talking about Shigmotsav, it is one of the main festivals of Goa.
Goa is in itself a fun loving state. The residents of this small state of India, is forever ready for gaiety and festivals. Shigmotsav is held in the month of “Falgun” as per the Saka calendar, which invariably falls between 16th of February to the 15th of March.
This year Goa is set to celebrate Shigmotsav, from the 7TH of March. During this festival “Floats” or “Yatras” are brought out, and a colorful parade of dancing men and women makes their way through the main roads of the different cities of the state.
Colourful dust or “gulaal” is thrown across, from the floats, among the cheering audience who also dances and claps to the tunes of the lively music. The participants dress up in colorful clothes and hold festoons and flags as they walk on to celebrate the Shigmo festival.
The History of Shigmotsav
This Shigmo festival is held to pay honor to the warriors who returned safe after fighting with the invaders at the end of Dussehra. The festival marks their homecoming. At the villages in Goa, the villagers dress up in their best outfits and gather together at the local temple to pay homage. The festival usually begins with Holi, the colour festival of India and continues for five days.
This festival has another very distinctive purpose. It celebrates the ripening of the winter crop. The participants of the festival and the parade, dress up in traditional attires and display martial dances, like the “horse-dance” or the “Ghode-morni”. Other dance forms that are displayed are, Rommatamel and Fugdi dances. Usually a competition is held among the participants for “best dance” and “best floats” and prizes are awarded on the last day of the festival, which is an honor in itself.
Shigmotsav festival is just about to begin this year. It attracts national and international tourists, who visit Goa to be a witness of this traditional yet a lively affair. The local people join the tourists in colorful and new outfits. Men and women tend to wear traditional garments. Men usually dress up in traditional South-Indian influenced attires. The women deck themselves up in pure silk and heavy ornamental brocade sarees or “Nav- Vari” or a nine yard saree with heavy ornaments.
It is the celebration of spring. Like any other celebration of Goa, Shigmotsav is something that people all across the world looks forward to and want to be a part of.