The very word Carnival brings lot of excitement in our mind adrenaline triggers within as we used to do many things during these three days. The things were really exempted for the general life. One used to eagerly wait for carnival as there used to be amusement, entertainment, fun and frolic.

All these things I am going to write are my memories of 55 years ago. Fondly remembering and recollecting too.  I will definitely miss some but as you finish reading you may add more and make this story bigger.

As a child in 1960’s, primarily we had the feast of St. Sebastiaò in our Chapel which was very important to all AQUEM-cars including people from Davorlim, Aquem-Baixo and Navelim too, as we belonged to Navelim Parish. On the Fama day we had the procession which came via Margao, and vending through the streets of Aquem. The entire route from Navelim to Aquem was well decorated with Bamboo arches and bursting of crackers all the way.

On the feast day we had grand celebration with High Mass and procession through the roads around the Chapel.

Those days the roads were quite empty and there was lot of free movement for people.

All the mine workers from Davorlim and other villages used to be back home for carnival.

What did we do for Carnival Khell – these were street plays enacted by men as there were no lady participants. Every Khell that had to be enacted had to be first enacted at the REGIDOR’S HOUSE, who was supposed to be the Authority to censor the play. The basic criteria would be that in any form the Bhatkar would not be offended. There were social issues pertaining to that era.

Once the Khell was sanctioned by the Regidor then it could be acted anywhere. Those khells were real fun.

The people used to follow these plays from one place to another as there were many “Partes” / parts. They wanted continuity. The man dressed in funny clothes used to be armed  with cuticura or pond talcum powder boxes to the thrown on    and all girls.

Men also used to carry “cocottes” (bullets with sand / mud /flour) wrapped in kite paper. Once thrown on person body they broke and pain would be      there was also other fun like using Epsom salt water used, water splashed on people all the powder used to fall on the person.

There was also other type of fun wherein one used to put Epsom salt in one’s mouth. Water used to splashed on people in buckets. Water was also used in water guns. Balloons filled with water were thrown on people. This was a period of fun and it was well accepted by the people eonly catholics used to play amongst their own people.

However s time passed and we came to th e70’s we had little commercialization. There were floats depicting various issues and also street dancing to the tunes of top bands of Goa. It was initially held in Panaji and only on Sabado Gordo.

Gradually Government started to promote Tourism by sponsoring these floats and and carnival too. Now it is a yearly calendar dates starting on Saturday Panaji upto Friday Mapusa.

Once Government and the corporated went in to participate in the Carnival floats and carnival festival it went at a different level the advertisement companies corporates namely Cococola, Kingfisher, Nestle, ARLEM, and other Govt. departments took Carnival at a different level. Therein money was not a problem and there was a sea of people participating. We had king momo heralding his Decree of three days. It was good, initially we enjoyed it as it was something different. Bands used to play good music, People dancing to their tunes for miles together. But now it’s all different and more commercialization. We have many tourists who come from bordering states to witness this mega show.

Now a days all the Main highway get blocked due to the inflow of vehicles whop come to spend the weekend in GOA.

The GOA government has promoted tourism by highlighting Carnival. But this carnival that we have has no comparison to the one we had in those days. You all may agree and some may not but the answer is debatable.

Rosarito Coelho
Ward 8