Thursday, January 1, 2009

Goa’s date with the “Old Man“ every December

The “Old Man” has been burnt down.And gone down with him are the memories that were a large part of 2008. Goa has just ushered in a new year as much as the rest of the world did.

So if you send out the old you need to ring in the new. Memories of 2008 were therefore written off on 31st December 2008 and a new voyage of 2009 has begun its script.
old man in margao goa
All over Goa, Goans faithfully kept their favourite year-end date with the “Old Man“, with thousands of effigies of the “Old Man” who apparently saw the whole of 2008 and grew old with it, were made in almost every nook and corner of Goa. Each village had almost 4-5 effigies in different places with youngsters narrating the writhing laments of the “Old Man” , his anguish, his pain, his sufferings, his joys, his sorrows, all of which were encountered by him in the year 2008.

The “Old Man” is a character , which is a favourite among Goan youth at the end of every December when one sees a typical life-sized dummy whose carcass is constructed out of sticks and hay or any soft material, sandwiched with plenty of fireworks, dressed aptly with old clothes, a cap on his head( sometimes left bald with hair shoots on the periphery of his pate) seated in Goan succegaad style on a free wheeling cranky chair , a bottle of Goan feni in hand and a thick cigar clenched between his few teeth.
old man in panjim goa
In some countries the Old man is also a depiction of some despised character or a very unpopular political figure, an enemy of the state or any character which projects a despicable outlook to vices.

In Goa the “Old Man” carries as much nostalgia among the young and old as does any other thing culturally specific to Goa. People look forward to the sight of this amusingly cocky “Old Man” who is accompanied by youngsters from the neighbourhood, mainly children who would pass around a hat for contributions which would then make their New Year day’s party.

old man in Vasco goa
However nowadays in Goa, modern methods are employed and sometimes the “Old Man” is kept by the roadside in villages or on highways as youngsters stay at a distance exchanging some banter on a mike with a well connected sound system, imploring the crowds with the sentiments of the “Old Man“ and subtly seeking their contributions in a very amusing manner.

The “Old Man” then keeps his date with his doom, when the youngsters gather after the midnight mass in Goa and set the effigy afire with the firecrackers bursting out in the din of music and song and great camaraderie with the young and the old mingling wonderfully
Old man in Mapusa Goa
So this year 2008, just before Auld Lang Syne could rent in the air, the “Old Man” and all his musings went down in ashes with him. For it was time to burn out the old and bring in a brand new year to the fore. 2009 greeted Goa with the same gusto as yesteryears and despite the terror threats, Goa ushered in the New Year with the fervour and gaiety that only Goa is so well known for.

Via Goa! Viva 2009!


Xittuk Goencar

1 comment:

Arnold said...

God! It’s been so long since the last time that I was involved in the burning of an “Old Man”, that I quite feel like one myself now!

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