Carnival likely to be tame affair this year

| 03 March 2000 22:53 IST

With liquor and cigarette companies prohibited from displaying their products in the official floats, the four-day official Carnival celebrations in Goa is going to be a tame affair, beginning from tomorrow.

No displaying any product, no promotion of liquor, no smoking, no vulgarity or obscenity and no cruelty to animals is the prime code the government is bound to follow while organising carnival floats in the four major towns.

While ban on smoking in public places is the act in Goa now, the high court has prohibited displaying any liquor product even otherwise. Obviously, hardly two beer companies are participating in the floats this year, displaying only their company banners and not the liquor bottles, unlike in the past.

The major attraction of the official floats this time is a wedding fusion by Servo, a lubricant company, showing their own king momo and queen momo moving on elephant and horses in a unique wedding procession of three religions. This is in addition to the float of the official King Momo.

Similarly, another attraction would be the float of traditional Sangodd (catamaran) festival celebrated annually at a river in Siolim village. Including sponsored and traditional categories, altogether 35 floats are expected to move on the Panaji road including the categories of clubs, families, clowns and a fun junky car rally.

While the same floats would then move on the roads of Margao, Vasco and Mapusa till 7 March, the musical carnival dances have again gone off tune due to yet another high court order prohibiting any dance after 10 pm.

Both the district collectors, who have been authorised by the court to allow such dances only in exceptional cases, have decided to allow such 'traditional' dances and also to the hotels only for the four days, provided they do not disturb the localities.

As a part of the neo-carnival official celebrations, water sports by Goa Yachting Association would be another highlight in river Mandovi in Panaji, while other city-based citizens' carnival committee would also have some specialities like Swadeshi Pop Show in Mapusa.

Goa however still remains a major attraction for carnival. One Brazilian TV crew and two German crews have already arrived to shoot it live while one music channel is planning to telecast the Swadeshi pop show.

The real traditional carnival in the villages however would be celebrated in an equally enthusiastic spirit by throwing colours at each others, wearing masks and moving around while also staging traditional 'khell' (like modern street plays) in some of the Catholic-dominated areas of the tourist state.

However, though carnival has been promoted by the authorities even at the World Trade Mart in London, how many tourists would visit the state is still a question mark. Followed by lukewarm response for the new year celebrations, tourists are still not seen on the streets unlike the usual crowded scene five years ago for Carnival.

The response is diminishing every year, primarily because the government is promoting the floats on commercial lines rather than making it a spontaneous affair of the locals, blended with the traditional spirit of the festival. On the contrary, the traditional carnival is being totally neglected in the last two decades.

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