Goa’s cultural traditions literally stretch back to the dawn of civilization. Here is an introduction to Goa's rich cultural heritage. Click on for more...
Despite successive onslaughts and the ravages of alien occupation, Goa’s cultural traditions have displayed amazing resilience with stimulation by every fresh challenge. To a large extent, Goa’s cultural heritage was enriched by a slow but unremitting process of absorption and assimilation of the more congenial features of this alien culture. The focal point being the symbiosis of Latin and local cultural strains. Click on for more...
A Goan is said to be born with music in his blood and music literally accompanies him from the cradle to the grave. Musical traditions run in whole generations. Music itself runs the entire gamut of sonic versatility; from the rustic Dhangar ( Shepherd ) playing and flutes to sophisticated tabla and sitar or violin and piano soloist thrilling large audiences in concert halls. Music is the time seller at all major social events-feasts, festivals, “zatras”, and marriages.
Goan folk music has a lively rhythm and the folk-dances a rugged vitality. The musical accompaniment for both folk songs and the folk dances is provided by a diversity of musical instruments – Ghumats, Dhols, Cymbals (Drums), Flutes, Harmonium, Violins and Guitars. The favorite, however, seems to be the Ghumat. No description in writing can ever do full justice to these dynamic folk art forms. Watching a live performance can elicit to a certain degree its emotional content, rhythmic charm, the colorful variety and vitality.
Freedom brought about a cultural renaissance in Goa along with providing a fresh impetus to the classic literature and fine arts and a revival of the folk arts. Once again the almost forgotten folk dances Dhalo, Fugdi, Corridinho, Mando and performing folk arts (like Khell-Tiatro), Jagar-perani and many others have come out into their own. Indeed the folk music and folk dances have crossed the borders of the state and become popular in the rest of the country during the past 25 years.
Here is a detailed description of the various dance forms of Goa.
BhandapThis is a traditional folk dance performed by womenfolk of a scheduled tribal community of Goa , performed in the second half of the Hindu month of Bhadrapada.
CorredinhoIt is a very elegant Portuguese dance, performed mainly by Goa's Catholic elite..
DekhniDekhni incorporates the exquisite and unique fusion of Indian melody and western rhythm. A lovely damsel is usually the theme of this highly popular folk song cum dance event that is also exclusively performed by women to the beat of the "Ghumat".
Dhangar DanceThe Dhangar dance is a dance of the shepherd community of Goa , the songs and the dances represent one of the oldest folk traditions of Goa.
Fugdi & DhaloThis dance is exclusively performed by women. These are very common dances performed at harvest times and on ceremonial occasions like the birth of a child or at a fair/festival. In "Dhalo" two parallel rows of women surge face to face towards each other to the beat of Ghumats. In "Fugdi", the women dance in a circular pattern with rhythmic swaying of bodies. An interesting variation is the “Kalashi Fugdi” of Satari taluka where the dancers blow into water pitchers.
Ghode ModniThis is a spectacular war dance that evokes the martial exploits of ancient Goans, and to a large extent the victory of the "Ranes" . The dancer is dressed in colorful headgear and typical livery with “ghungroos” or anklets attached to their feet and an effigy of a horse to their waists. They brandish swords in their hands and dance rhythmically to the sound of martial music of "dhols" and "tashas". It is very popular in the Sanquelim and Sattari areas, the stronghold of the "Ranes".
GoffGoff involves the weaving of a multi-colored braid through skillful footwork and is danced mostly by the peasants of Cancona taluka. These folk dances are associated with spring rituals and festivities.
HanpetThe Hanpet (sword dance) is a popular dance performed by two or three dancers with swords during the Shigmo festival.
Kala & DashavatarThese dance forms are the precursors of the the modern "Tiatr".
Kumbhi DanceIt is the dance and musical heritage of the Kumbhi community.
This is traditionally performed by women carrying brass lamps on their heads during the Shigmo festival .
MandoIt is the most popular and stylized, song and dance event that is sweetly sad in its melody and very elegantly choreographed. Young men and women gracefully weave rhythmic patterns to the beat of a “GHUMAT” and the romantic strains of the violin. The MANDO is nostalgically sung and danced wherever Goans are settled the world over . Slow and sad at the beginning, the Mando ends in the lively Bhulpod. The theme of the traditional MANDO is Love and romance, but of late there has been some innovation with a diversity of thematic subjects.
MorulemThis is another dance form performed during the Shigmo festivities by the early Goan settlers, part of Goa's backward community.
Mussal-Khel-PestelIntroduced in Goa by the Kadambas, the tradition is maintained by the Christian community of Chandor (Salcete Taluka). Some dancers brandish Mussal (pestles) symbolic of the "Shivlinga", whilst others carry lit torches. The troupe performs first in public/ at the town center etc., and later goes from door to door. A dancer in the troupe is disguised as a bear in this dance. The dance is usually performed on the second day of the carnival.
JagarThere are two forms of the folk drama. The perani – jagar exclusively performed by the perani community deals with esoteric themes like creation of universe, whilst the general Jagar deals with traditional aspects of village life. The Jagar is generally considered to be the precursor of the modern theatre in Goa.
RaatibThis is a part of Muslim religious festivities performed during the 11th month of the Muslim Calendar.
SuvariThis is a traditional tone setter to all Hindu Goan festivals.
TalgadiThis is a lively dance to the beat of Samel, Ghumat etc. – The participants waving sticks with their hands like Dandya dancers of Gujarat. These folk dances are associated with spring rituals and festivities.
Taranga MelThis is also known as the banner festival and traditionally is a farmers festival.
TonyamelThis is a traditional dance performed with sticks, usually performed at harvest time.
VeerabhadraThe thematic subject is the mythological episode of VEERBHADRA Shiva’s son born of his matted hair. It is a typical south Indian style dance and performed once annually as part of religious rites in Ponda taluka only. The dancers brandish swords in both hands weaving patterns to the tune of ‘dholak’ and ‘tasha’ with a typical southern beat. It is also performed in Sanguem and Bicholim Talukas apart from any religious connection.
ZagorThis is performed by Goa's Gauda community in a variety of styles.
Goa is famous for its
feasts and festivals. The occasion may be a harvest, a change of season, and
a sacred day in the calendar or the birthday of a saint. Goans seem to thrive on
festivity. There are “Zatras”, temple festivals that give great scope for folk
dances and folk dramas. Annual popular dances in villages (like the famous Festa
de Leques Dance) besides the major festivals of Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi and
Christmas. The annual St. Francia Xavier’s Feast draws together people of all
walks of life and of all communities at the historic city of Old Goa in their
thousands. The fire walking ceremony witnessed by huge crowd forms the highlight
of the " Sirigao Zatra” annually. The Shigmo festival is a boisterous celebration
heralding spring and is matched for colorfulness and merriment only by the
Carnival – that memorable three-day bust-up of euphoric frenzy.
ShigmoThis is the Goan version of "Holi". Dressed in colorful costumes, the dancer express joy and happiness to the accompaniment of “dhols”(huge drums), “tasha” and “kasale” (cymbals). This dance highlights Shigmo festival in Goa.
CarnivalThis is exciting and unique three-day non-stop extravaganza of fun, frolic, song, music and dance that is uniquely Goan. This is a Pagan festival popular in Latin American countries that were colonies of Portugal at some point in time. The Carnival is uniquely Goan and is not celebrated anywhere else in India. It is a typical Latin, song, music and dance and precedes the "Lent". The highlight of the exotic frenzy of merriment is the appointment and arrival of “KING MOMO” and his retinue to the capital city Panaji on "Fat Saturday", the eve of Carnival. They form the head of a parade of colorful floats and troupes of masked revelers attired in gorgeous costumes singing and dancing in gay abandon to lively music that is usually performed live. The best floats are given handsome prizes. The floats have in recent years been commercially sponsored. Carnival is also celebrated in the Goan countryside by the Christian populace and is called ‘Intruz’. It assumes a unique form of creative spontaneity wherein folk songs/Cantars are sung from door to door in villages by troupes of mainly Christian peasants inviting everyone to join in the celebration. Suvari – orchestral folk music regales the audience at all Hindu religious and other festivals. ‘Ranmale’, ‘Raktakala’, ‘Kala’, ‘Dashavatari’ and ‘Teatro’ are other popular types of folk drama forms.
Goa Carnival '98
Goa also has a rich tradition of the classical arts. For many generations, Goans have excelled in poetry, music and the fine arts. The art gallery of the Institute Menezes Braganza has on display, a number of paintings by contemporary Indian (Goan and Non-Goan) artists and some reproductions of the old masters.
Goa is a land
of crafts and craftsmen where aesthetic quality finds a natural expression. The exquisitely
carved rosewood and teak
furniture, the terracotta figurines, and the classic brass and gold jewelry all
speaks of an age still valuable in this technology obsessed world.
The Goa Kala Academy was established in 1969. It is the principal institution for the promotion of art and culture in the state. The Kala Academy Complex is situated on the banks of the river Mandovi along the Panaji-Dona Paula road. The complex includes an open air auditorium with a seating capacity of 2500 , a closed air-conditioned theatre-The Dinanath Mangeshkar Auditorium with a seating capacity of 1000, two mini-theatres, a recording studio, a full-fledged library of music (tapes and discs) and books, an art gallery and workshops, practice rooms, visitor's rooms, etc.
The Kala Academy plays a key role in the nurturing the musical artistic and literary traditions of the people of Goa. The Academy has identified 27 folk-dance forms of Goa and these are now frequently performed in public.
The Goa Symphony Orchestra maintained by the Western Music Wing (the erstwhile Academia de Musica) of the Academy has earned an enviable reputation for inspired performances. The Kala Academy also conducts a faculty of Indian Music and Dance besides operating and assisting a number of music centres in the state to promote and tap musical talent at both urban and rural levels. The various festivals held by the Goa Kala Academy are as follows
The fulfillment of the age-old twin aspirations of statehood and language has given a fresh lease to the literary and artistic activities in Goa. The people of Goa today are engaged in a voyage of rediscovery of their cultural legacy. For example, Teatro and its rural counterpart and complement the “Khel-Tiatr” are riding the crest of the current popularity wave.
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