Preparations are in full swing in India&rsquos sunshine state, Goa, for the annual Carnival (Carnaval). The four-day festival is reminiscent of Goa&rsquos Portuguese legacy. Observed just before the commencement of Lent (a 40-day period marked by penitential preparation for Easter), it started as a Christian festival but is now celebrated by everyone. This year, the Carnival will be held from February 26 and March 1.
Although the carnival is organised in many towns and villages of Goa, the biggest extravaganza is held at the state capital &ndash Panaji (Panjim). Led by King Momo, the colourful float parade winds its way through the city with everyone cheering the participants. Goa Tourism will declare the name of King Momo on February 22 (selected from the applicants).
The centrally located Jardin Garcia de Orta will be styled as the Samba Square for the four days of the festival. To ensure that the crowd can disperse over a wide area, the local administration has introduced a few more venues, including the recently renovated walkway along the Miramar Beach.
According to media reports, the float parade will begin at 3pm and will include several categories, such as traditional, clubs and institutions, family, junk and jokers. The traditional Red and Black dance will be held on the last day of the festival (the day coincides with the festival of Holi).
The local food and beverage industry is also participating in a big way this year. There will be a bunch of food stalls at the Samba Square and Miramar walkway, while pubs and restaurants will hold their own carnival themed food festivals. Other attractions include pop-up bazar at Samba Square, walks and cycle tours, cultural performances, special programmes for children, etc.
The Carnival will also be celebrated in Margao (February 27), Vasco (February 28) and Mapusa (March 1).
Also read Remembering the Goa Carnival on Holi