About Shigmo festival
Shigmo festival that takes place in the Konkani diaspora of Goa, during the spring season, is a beautiful and auspicious festival of Hindus that celebrates the vibrancy of colours. It is also known as the festival of colours for people in Goa or ‘spring festival’, the celebrations of this festival span fourteen days. The local folk groups are dressed in flashy and colourful traditional costumes and gives spectacular beautiful dance performances. The float parade is the highlight of the festival. There is festive energy surrounding the Konkani diaspora during this festival as it envelopes the whole place with its celebration of colours.
When it is celebrated
This festival falls in the month of ‘Falgun’ as per the Hindu calendar which is generally in the month of March. However, the exact dates depend on the position of the moon each year. It is related to the Hindu lunar calendar and hence its date according to the Gregorian calendar varies.
The word “Shigmo” is a Konkani term, which has been coined from Prakrit word ‘Suggimaho’ and the Sanskrit word, Sugrishmaka. There are two varieties of the Shigmo festival, the DhaktoShigmo and the VhadloShigmo. The DhaktoShigmo is celebrated by the rural population, farmers and the labour class, whereas the VhadloShigmo is of greater importance and is celebrated by everyone.
The festival indeed welcomes the season of spring with blessings of good fortune and a good harvest. The population is doused in festivities and a festive spirit that makes for a brilliant environment. The mood struck by good company and folklore illuminates the region during this festival.
Festivities start in South Goa in the southernmost taluk, Canacona, just a few days before Holi. It is predominantly a village festival celebrated by farmers, and artists, and begins with the culmination of male dancers and musicians called ‘mel’ at a ‘maand’ and invocation of local deities known as ‘naman’.
During the Shigmo festival, localities dress up in colourful outfits and enjoy the festival by holding huge coloured flags, artificial swords and various other things in the street parade. Many of them also dress up as the traditional ‘maharajas’ or soldiers holding weapons in hand.
It is the occasion to see the various arts and crafts of the village artisans through costumes and dances which are based on mythological events, musical instruments, headgears, masks and jewelry.
Variety of dance types like ‘Ghode-Morni’ also known as horse dance, ‘Fugdi Dance’ and ‘Rommatamel’ are a part of the Shigmo celebration. Shigmo festival is celebrated by villages after farming. The other dances which are part of this tradition are ‘tonya mel’, ‘talgadi and ‘goff’.
Some modern and huge floats depicting the Hindu mythology participate in competitions held during the Shigmo festival, where the best performer is offered an award.
On the last day of the festival, it is believed that a spirit,the Gade padap enters in the bodies of the dancers which makes them dance in a very frenzied manner . There is a collective bath,Mand davarap, taken after which the festival comes to an end amidst loud cheer and gaiety.
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