Monday, March 16, 2009

Shigmo showcases Goa's folk dances

The festival of Shigmo has a special place in the hearts and minds of many Goans who believe that it is a form of reflection of the rich cultural heritage of the state of Goa.

In the olden days, Goa was dependent on agriculture very much and Goans used to personally work in the fields to ensure that the agricultural growth is nurtured and nursed to give the desired results of good crops. The winter season was a time of the "Vaigann" crop in Goa and after toiling hard the whole day, the Shigmo celebrations were a mode of entertainment.

Although the festival was a predominantly non-Brahmin ritual, in modern times even the Brahmins in Goa have begun to take part in the festival.

The Portuguese were instrumental in enforcing a ban on the celebration of Shigmo during the old conquests and while the rest of Goa celebrates Shigmo in the month of Phalguna, only Dongrim village in Mandur celebrates the festival by coinciding it with the Carnival which is attributed to the catholic community.This festival in Dongrim is known as "Intruz" which may have been borrowed from the Portuguese word "entrudo" meaning Carnival. The Shigmo which was banned by the Portuguese therefore survived in Dongrim in disguise of Intruz which is celebrated by the farming community of Dongrim just in the same way as Shigmo.

The people of Dongrim have therefore maintained their old age traditions descending to them from their forefathers and have continued to celebrate the Shigmo to keep up to their cultural heritage.

In Goa we have two different types of Shigmo celebrations known as Dhakto Shigmo and Vhoddlo shigmo. The Dhakto Shigmo is known to be celebrated by the people of Goa who live around the Zuari river side whereas the Vhodllo Shigmo is attributed to celebrations from people living by the Mandovi river .

Folk songs form a large part of the Shigmo celebrations and in Canacona, villagers invoke their deity by singing folk songs in praise of their gods.The folk songs are very common and are sung with the tunes inherited by these people from their ancestors and are known by practically everyone in the village.

The villagers come together with a variety of folk performances on the full moon day. in he Poinguiinim constituency, including Loliem and other villages of Canacona. The Velip and the Bhagat family faithfully observe the "Viramel" every year. The "Viramel" is a peculiar martial art form which is observed form the ninth day of Phalgun to the full moon day.

The tradition of the Bhagat community is to wear a white dhoti and a turban while holding a sword and carrying a broom of a peacock feathers . Their procession  visits every house to the beat and tune of the "dhol", Jaghat", "taso" and a horn known as "shing", in a performance which is a ritual.

The "tonyamel", "Talgadi" and "Goff" are the other rich folk dance traditions mainly performed by the male artistes, at the Shigmo in Canacona.

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